Roll away back and shoulder pain

A tight back and shoulders prevents ease of movement and restricts range of motion…

Painful trigger points develop from sitting and typing all day or from overuse, causing more pain and restricted movement.

Enough! If you’re ready for relief, get ready to roll away the pain…

Foam rolling is a great way to release those trigger points and break up the soft tissue adhesion.  It works by breaking through adhesions or scar tissue, drawing fresh blood, oxygen and nutrients into the muscle and elongating the fibers to restore relaxation and range of motion. It’s also a great way to warm up and cool down for exercise.

In a previous video article we focused on the lower body. In today’s video Dennis Angelina will walk us through great rolling exercises for the upper body. These simple methods will help restore mobility to the shoulders and back.

Basic equipment

There are different types of foam rollers available. Red ones are generally softer and have more give to them. The black ones are denser and afford a greater pressure on the muscles. Then there is the rumble roller, which is knobby and dense and offers trigger point release. It is best suited for those who can handle the pressure and need more release. They also come shorter and longer, the choice of which depends on your specific needs. Having two different ones can be helpful for different parts of the body or space requirements.


For the mid and upper back, take your time getting onto the floor. You want the foam rolling to begin in the mid-muscle, or the belly of the muscle. This way you can control how much pressure you are working with, and not pressing against bone or joint.

If you need to be a bit more aggressive, you can always cross your arms in front of you, which places more bodyweight onto the roller. For a less intense use, place hands on the floor to hold you up off the roller a bit.

Foam roll the back

Place the foam roller on the floor and begin by lying on the foam roller across your mid back. Keep your knees up with feet planted firmly on the ground. Put weight into your feet to raise up your lower back, and then push with your feet to slowly move your body up and down the roller, from mid back to upper back, and back down. Do about 10 passes.

Foam roll the lats

Next, foam roll the lats which are the muscles on the back and sides of the body. This will help with shoulder mobility. Simply turn to your side and extend the lower arm above your head, and rest the roller under your side. This one can be sensitive for some people. If you begin with the roller on the ribcage, it can be painful. You really want to make sure you begin with the roller in the belly of the muscle.

Once you have a good position, do 10 passes on one side then turn over and do 10 on the other side. Again, use your legs to lift your body off the ground. For more body weight pressure, keep your top hand off the ground; for les pressure, put your hand on the floor to help lift you up a bit.

You can adjust your rolling position by angling your body forward and backward, depending on where you want to roll and which angle gives you the best feeling of release.

These simple foam rolling techniques go a long way to reducing tightness, elongating muscles, working out trigger points, reducing pain and restoring range of motion. Give them a try!

Dr. Mark Wiley

By Dr. Mark Wiley

Dr. Mark Wiley is an internationally renowned mind-body health practitioner, author, motivational speaker and teacher. He holds doctorates in both Oriental and alternative medicine, has done research in eight countries and has developed a model of health and wellness grounded in a self-directed, self-cure approach. Dr. Wiley has written 14 books and more than 500 articles. He serves on the Health Advisory Boards of several wellness centers and associations while focusing his attention on helping people achieve healthy and balanced lives through his work with Easy Health Options® and his company, Tambuli Media.