Using a foam roller to ease back pain

66fit foam roller 45 cmIf, like me, you struggle with lower back pain, then activities like hillwaking and cycling are likely to cause you problems. A foam roller could be an answer, though.

A roller is a very simple piece of exercise equipment. It works on the basis of myofascial release, which is a soft tissue therapy focusing on the connective tissues, and makes use of the user’s weight to apply sustained pressure to specific parts of the body. It’s a fairly simple principle to grasp, and you’ll understand the benefit if you’ve had stiffness in muscle groups released by physio or sports massage. The relief can be heavenly!

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I’ve started reading Michael Hutchinson’s The Hour, a treatise, albeit a light-hearted one, of the hour cycling record. This gold-standard cycling event is en velo at its purest: a rider, a track, a single-speed racing cycle and the clock.

Langdale, above Mickleden

The book opens with author demonstrating fabulous form tearing around Manchester’s velodrome. Outside it’s February and cold and bleak as this Northwest city can be, but inside the home of British Cycling (for now, at least) Hutchinson is following a sublime line on the track’s steep banks.

Despite being near the limits of his physical capabilities, Hutchinson talks of a state of ‘almost concentration’. He claims never to have found ‘any other way of fully engaging mind and body’ and notes that it’s a very personal sensation: ‘It’s all about you, and even if others can understand it, they can’t feel it.’

It’s a rather lovely passage and struck a chord with me.

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