October 22


Got #Pain Hotspots?

By Sue Ingebretson

October 22, 2013

aqua therapy, arthritis, chiropractic, foam rollers, hotspots, massage therapists, pain, physical therapists, resistance bands, therapy


Foam-Roller-FibromyalgiaIf you’ve got fibromyalgia, arthritis, any chronic illness, or have ever worked out, pulled weeds, or taken out the trash, you’ve had pain hotspots. Pain hotspots can happen to anyone but for some, they’re a more frequent concern than for others. And … wouldn’t we all like to get rid of them?

I’m all about fast, effective, and inexpensive ways to get fit and stay healthy. We’ve reviewed other fitness tools/techniques here and to catch up, I suggest reading my posts on Resistance Bands and Aqua Therapy.

This post includes another fitness tool to add to your pain relief arsenal. And, yet again, it’s cheap and readily available.  I’m talking about —

Foam Rollers!

 Have you heard of these? No, they don’t have anything to do with the styling or maintenance of your lovely locks.

Foam rollers really get to the heart of the matter. Or at least to the heat. That’s right – they’re great to use on hotspots. Pain hotspots.

Foam rollers are relatively inexpensive (though not as cheap as resistance bands), and are particularly good for those who have range of motion limitations. Most chiropractors sell them nowadays and while you’re there, ask them how best to use them. Chiropractors, massage therapists, and physical therapists can provide a wealth of information on the mechanics of pain relief.

Just as with any new fitness activity, start off slow. Build up to a routine of using your foam roller to smooth out the sore spots. If you have fibromyalgia, I can already anticipate this cry — “What do you mean sore SPOTS! Everything hurts!”

I hear ya.

You simply feel knotty all over. But stick with me. Pick a spot – any knot – and start slowly. Use your body’s weight and apply pressure to a particular knot with the foam roller. Work on that kinked area to see if you can get the spasm to let go or at least release its Kung Fu grip on you. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the pain relief you can obtain from just a few minutes a day of using a foam roller on a focused area (such as hips and lower back).

Here are a few tips about using foam rollers –

·         Begin slowly and lie down comfortably on your floor or bed.

·         Place the roller under a painful area.

·         Move it gently for a bit – back and forth. Do your best to “relax” into the knot to get it to release.

·         As you progress, try different areas of the body to maximize your efforts.

·         Build up a tolerance for pain by working slowly but consistently.

·         Be patient with your progress.

·         This isn’t a “pain free in minutes” remedy. It takes time and frequency to begin to see results.

·         Foam rollers can help to “reset” muscles in spasm through therapeutic and healthy pressure.

·         Focused pressure from the foam roller can cause muscles to relax and feel massaged.

·         The self-massage benefits of foam rollers can help to extend and maintain results of other forms of exercise and treatments such as yoga, tai chi, qigong, resistance bands, aqua therapy, physical therapy, therapeutic massage, and chiropractic adjustments.  Foam-Roller-Fitness

Using a foam roller can have other unexpected benefits as well. It allows me to view my favorite PBS programs from interesting angles.… 

As with the use of resistance bands, you can find loads of great tips on YouTube and by Googling the topic.

Another plus of this “stay at home” activity is that you can wear your favorite comfy sweatpants and work out at your own pace.  So, what do you have to say? Let others in this community know how foam rollers have helped you to feel more energized – and less knotty.

Got tips of your own to share? Please do below!


Sue Ingebretson

Interested in co-creating your own program to heal from the inside out? Check out Sue’s Rebuilding Wellness site – and click on the Work With Sue tab to learn more.



  1. Thanks….makes a lot of sense. I do reflexology but that only goes to the knees. It will be tried.

  2. This works great, I had to do this during a physical therapy class i took at the college. It hurt at 1st but it was so worth it. It really gets deep down in the muscles and works the knots out.

  3. The foam roller has worked like a miracle for me. The Tai Cheng fitness program I am doing uses it in the beginning of each days fitness program. Thanks for the great article.

  4. I’m so glad you shared this! I have not used it but I’m going to go out and get one! Just by seeing it and the idea of how to use it I KNOW will help! Yes everything does hurt but for me if I can get just one area to feel better it’s huge!!!
    Thank you!!!

    1. So glad you’re open to trying it out. I’ve known many people who’ve found them useful. Be sure to let us know how it goes!

    1. Lori — that’s a great question. I’ve tried it myself and my success depends greatly on whether or not I have a particular spasm. If it’s overall soreness, the rollers work very well. If it’s a spasm or a significant tightness, then I didn’t see the same benefits. In general, it seems that the smaller rollers work better for the neck and you may wish to place a towel or flat pillow over it for extra comfort. I can only caution you to be very careful around the neck and head area, and I’m sure you can get more thorough (and better!) advice from your chiropractor, physical therapist, or massage therapist.

  5. Great info thanks! Back in the day we used racquetball balls but they can be difficult to manipulate when you’re working on your back. I’ve also used the head of an ultrasonic massager, sometimes those “knots” can become the size of golfballs!

    1. Leslie — so true! I remember using tennis balls shoved down into a tube sock 😉 It works, sort of, on the neck & shoulders where you can reach (as you mentioned), but pretty hard to position correctly. The roller is a more broad approach. It’s always good to have another tool in your arsenal of pain free methods!

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