Sunday, January 4, 2009
The first time I saw someone using a foam roller, I remember thinking, "What a total crock!"
The exercises I saw on it left me completely nonplussed, and when I saw it on the schedule at the RKC II workshop, I thought that I'd just sit there and try to stay awake.
Funny how things change.
After a presentation from Mark Reifkind (now Master RKC), a little over a year later, and a lot of research hours, I've found the foam roller to be one of the most intelligent self-care, maintenance, and restorative tools I could share with many of my clients, students, and patients.
Case in point...
I came across a patient who'd been downing over-the-counter pain medications (ibuprofen, aspirin, whatever...everything that was legal without a prescription) like most people won't even down vitamins. He'd been suffering for years with knee pain that was slowly working its way up to his hip and lower back.
His orthopedist told him that he'd likely need surgery for his knee, which horrified him as someone barely in his 30's.
This was a guy who was athletic, strong, and did a lot of very active things until his knee pain started getting in the way of what he could do. Surgery was something he wanted to avoid at all costs, so he sought out chiropractic, physical therapy, and acupuncture treatments, but he complained that the results were marginal at best.
Frustrated, scared, and close to wits end, he came to my clinic. After a couple of tests, I said, "Aside from the cost of this initial consultation, the solution to your problem's gonna cost you about $20."
He looked at me like I just slapped his little sister in front of him.
I explained my diagnosis and the mechanism of his knee pain. Then I had him try just ONE specific release pattern on the foam roller.
Screaming like Mel Gibson during the electrocution scene in Lethal Weapon as he performed the release pattern, he got up afterwards and tried out his knee. He was shocked at the dramatic reduction in pain... a reduction that nobody else had been able to provide him with!
Like a true results-oriented man, he e-mailed or texted me every few days after that with "still good". One day his e-mail read "I can't believe how a few minutes on that $20 foam roller did more lasting good for me than hundreds of bucks that I spent on other treatments, but what really scares the sh-t out of me is the realization that I almost went in for surgery on this knee. Thanks, man."
Now don't get me wrong. There are PLENTY of great reasons to get orthopedic surgery. But if you're intelligent, you try to exhaust all of your more conservative options FIRST and use surgery as a last resort. Even the best surgeons I know say that to their friends & families!
I'll be doing a foam roller workshop down at Kettlebells Orange County in Irvine and again as part of my Hard Style workshop at the Harris Academy in San Diego later on this winter. We haven't finalized the dates yet, but if you're interested in attending, please join the KBLA Mailing list by clicking here!
In the meantime, get a hold of your own foam roller from Perform Better. It's a quality item that will hold its shape and resilience better than 99.99% of the imitators out there. This is some of the safest, cheapest, yet most high-yield stuff you can do for pain relief that gets right to the cause of your agony in many cases. Now just come on out and learn how to do it right!