The Benefits of Foam Rolling

Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Using a foam roller, individuals can apply pressure to different areas of the body, aiding in the release of tension and tightness in muscles and fascia. Foam rolling has a variety of benefits, including increased flexibility, improved range of motion, and reduced muscle soreness. Additionally, foam rolling can help increase blood flow and aid in recovery from injuries.

The Science Behind Foam Rolling

When you use a foam roller, you’re applying pressure to the soft tissue in your body, which includes muscles, tendons, and fascia. By applying this pressure, you’re stimulating cells in the soft tissue, leading to an increase in blood flow and the release of tension in the affected area. The pressure also signals the body to produce endorphins, which can help reduce pain and make the experience more pleasurable. One study found that foam rolling can enhance muscular efficiency and overall performance.

Is it OK to Crack Your Back with a Foam Roller?

One of the benefits of foam rolling is that it can help release the tension in your back muscles. Some people may feel a “pop” or “crack” in their back when they use a foam roller, similar to when they crack their knuckles. While this sensation can be satisfying, it’s not the same as cracking your back. In fact, cracking your back with a foam roller can be dangerous and lead to injury. It’s best to focus on applying pressure to the soft tissue in your back without forcing any cracking or popping.

The Right Way to Foam Roll Your Back

To foam roll your back safely and effectively, start by lying on the foam roller with it positioned beneath your shoulder blades. Keep your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Use your feet to roll the foam roller up and down your back, focusing on the muscles on either side of your spine. Be sure to avoid rolling directly on your spine or any bony areas. You can also use a tennis ball or lacrosse ball to target specific areas of tension in your back.

Common Mistakes When Foam Rolling Your Back

While foam rolling your back can be beneficial, there are some common mistakes people make when doing so. One mistake is rolling too quickly, which doesn’t allow enough pressure to be applied to the soft tissue. Another mistake is using too much pressure, which can lead to injury. It’s important to start with gentle pressure and gradually increase it as needed. It’s also important to avoid rolling on any areas that are already sore or injured.

When Not to Foam Roll Your Back

While foam rolling can be beneficial for most people, there are some instances where it’s best to avoid foam rolling your back. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, such as a herniated disk or spinal stenosis, you should speak with your healthcare provider before foam rolling. Additionally, if you experience any pain, numbness, or tingling while foam rolling your back, stop immediately and consult a medical professional.


Foam rolling is an effective way to release tension and improve flexibility in your muscles and fascia. While it can be tempting to crack your back when using a foam roller, it’s important to avoid doing so. Instead, focus on applying gentle pressure to the soft tissue in your back, and avoid rolling over any bony or sore areas. With proper technique, foam rolling can be a safe and effective way to improve your overall health and wellness.