Keeping patients pain-free between visits
One of the earliest lessons DCs learn in chiropractic college is the body may not hold in the correct position after adjustments, including myofascial release. Patients will invariably be back in the DC’s office with the same nagging complaint, often because they did not take proper care following their last adjustment.
How can both DCs and patients break this vicious cycle of chronic inflammation and help the body keep in its proper position longer between visits? One answer is for patients to do at-home therapy. This not only helps the body hold the position for longer between visits, but also involves patients as partners with DCs in their care.
This year, many studies looked at the results from patient self-myofascial release and its effectiveness in pain relief and flexibility improvement. Some looked specifically at foam rollers as a tool for self-myofascial release.
Soreness and fatigue
A literature review published earlier this year in Current Sports Medicine Report collected results from nine studies on self-myofascial release. The researchers looked for this technique performed both before exercise and as part of a recovery routine. While the studies addressed different body parts, they found the findings consistently reflected the effectiveness of self-myofascial release in reducing soreness and fatigue and improving range of motion following exercise.1
A study in the May issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research looked at the use of a foam roller specifically for the hamstrings. A group of 40 males were assigned to either a foam roller, stretching, or control group. At the end of four weeks, the researchers found that self-myofascial release was just as effective as stretching, and may even be a good addition to a stretching program.2
In June, the Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma published as study that examined the effect of one session of foam roller or stretching, and no treatment on a group of 14 college football players. A randomized, cross-over study design was used so that each player underwent each type of treatment. The researchers looked at a number of performance variables including vertical-jump power and velocity, knee isometric torque, and hip range of motion.
While there was no difference between all three groups in vertifal-jump power and velocity or knee torque, both foam rolling and dynamic stretching showed significant improvement for hip flexibility. The researchers concluded that self-myofascial release with foam rollers can safely be added to a dynamic stretching protocol.3
Improving patient care
One of the striking benefits of chiropractic care is that it not only allows, but welcomes patient partnership in the healing process. Providing patients with a routine for self-myofascial release can help keep them engaged and involved in their own care.
1Schroeder AN, Best TM. Is self-myofascial release an effective preexercise and recovery strategy? A literature review. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2015 May-Jun;14(3):200-8.
2Junker D, Stöggl T. The foam roll as a tool to improve hamstring flexibility. J Strength Cond Res. 2015 May 16.
3Behara B, Jacobson BH. The acute effects of deep tissue foam rolling and dynamic stretching on muscular strength, power, and flexibility in Division 1 linemen. J Orthop Trauma. 2015 Jun 24.