Best Foam Roller for Back Pain
Being glued to your office chair for most of your day isn’t only boring, but it makes it more likely to experience back pain. I personally felt this pain when I had a 8 hour at a desk job.
If you’re more of the athletic type, intensive exercise can overwork and strain your muscles. In both cases, one of your best bets for back pain relief is a foam roller.
Foam rollers come in various shapes and sizes, but even in their most basic foam-tube shape, they’re pretty handy. Their uses can vary between pre-workout and post-workout stretching, to physical therapy.
That said, we compiled a list of the best foam rollers for back pain on the market today so that it’s easier for you to pinpoint the perfect one for your needs.
Our Top 7 Picks for the Best Foam Roller for Back Pain
Whether you’re looking for your very first foam roller or an upgrade from your current one, we’re confident that one of the following products will suit your needs and budget.
1. Low Density: OPTP PRO-Roller Soft Foam Roller
If you’re just starting out or have sensitive trigger points to treat, this soft foam roller is a good start. Built out of close-celled EVA foam, this roller can be easily wiped down after a workout. EVA foam is also known for its great durability.
This soft foam roller is 18 inches, which is ideal for muscle group targeting and self-massaging. It’s also compact and travel-friendly.
The soft, low-density foam will give your muscles the stretching they need, without pinching or bruising. If you’re opting for a full-body stretch, there’s a 36-inch model.
- Compact and portable size
- Durable EVA foam structure
- Easily cleaned with wipes or mild detergents
- Ideal for muscle group targeting stretches and exercises
- Can be a little pricey for beginners
- Not suitable for full body stretches and calisthenics
2. Medium Density: Yes4All Medium-Density Foam Roller
If you’re looking to up your foam rolling game a little bit, this medium-density foam roller will do the trick.
Made out of PE foam, the Yes4All foam roller delivers moderate firmness and is able to support up to 250 lbs with ease. It’s one of the most durable options on the market.
The smooth anti-slip foam roller also comes in three colors and four sizes to suit your fitness needs, from 12-inch rollers to target specific areas to 36-inch rollers that hit every spot.
- HIGH-QUALITY FOAM ROLLERS: Made from high-quality PE 30% heavier & firmer than the ones from the same class for deeper massage than standard foam rollers. Smooth, anti-slip, lightweight yet can retain support 250 lbs and shape after heavy uses
- LIGHTWEIGHT AND PORTABLE: Come in a variety of colors and lengths to choose from, easy to choose the perfect fit, and bring with you anywhere be it the park or your office to have solid muscle pain relief workouts
- REAP ALL THE BENEFITS OF FOAM ROLLING: Yes4All Premium Medium Density Round PE Foam Rollers are ideal to trigger all your tight muscles pre and post workouts, increase blood flow and oxygen to the tissue helping the natural healing process
- PERFECT FOR SELF-MASSAGE THERAPY & MYOFASCIAL RELEASE: Great for improving muscle mobility, flexibility and preventing soreness for all sports enthusiasts, CrossFit, pilates, bodybuilding, running, weight training, yoga
- HELP INCREASE RANGE OF MOTION AND STRESS MANAGEMENT: Foam rolling helps stretch and lengthen muscles, thus expanding the range of movements. You can also feel a whole lot better now that tight spots and discomfort are targeted and reduced
- Perfect for beginners and intermediate users
- Supports up to 250 lbs
- Comes in different colors and sizes
- Needs to dry overnight after cleaning
- Not as durable as EVA foam
3. High Density: LuxFit Speckled Foam Roller
Don’t let the cute, speckled design fool you; this foam roller is made out of high-density extra firm foam to withstand the toughest of fitness routines.
The molded polypropylene foam build makes it liquid-repellent and helps it retain its shape for long. The smooth surface provides equal pressure on your muscles, while the firmness works your muscles and deep tissues.
Whatever workout you have planned, Luxfit offers four different sizes: 12, 18, 24, and 36-inch foam rollers, as well as three speckled colors to choose from.
- Variety of sizes to fit different needs
- Water-repellent, durable, extra-firm foam
- 10-year limited warranty
- Not suitable for beginners
- Can be slippery on certain floors
- Attracts lint and hair easily
4. Multi Density: TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller
Looking for a massage but can’t bother heading to a spa? The TriggerPoint GRID foam roller mimics a masseuse’s hands with its different grid patterns and alternating firmness.
The spiked nubs provide firm pressure similar to that of fingertips, while the tube-shaped and flat areas imitate the fingers and palm.
The gridded foam roller hollowed build adds to its durability and is a nifty place to store your workout clothes when packing.
Although this model is only 13-inches, TriggerPoint also has a 26-inch foam roller.
- Multiple densities on different grid patterns
- Can withstand up to 500 lbs
- Available in six different colors and patterns
- Durable EVA foam
- Not suitable for sensitive trigger points
- The grid can cause bruising
5. Beginner Friendly: ProsourceFit Flex Foam Rollers
ProsourceFit’s Flex foam rollers provide soft, low-density, and budget-friendly options for those who are new to using foam rollers. Both half and full models provide medium pressure on your muscles and deep tissues for an easy kick-start to foam rolling.
The smooth EPE foam is gentle on trigger points and gives your blood circulation a boost. The versatile shapes also give a wide range for pilates, physical therapy, and spinal alignment.
- Available in half and full roll shapes
- Suitable for a wide range of exercises
- Perfect for beginners
- Easy to clean
- The blue rollers are more firm than the white ones
- Slippery on hardwood floor
6. Best Weight Capacity: AcuMobility Ultimate Back Roller
Designed by a chiropractor, this foam back roller is designed with spinal pressure in mind. It’s a great way to alleviate back pain, as well as work out any kinks in your muscles.
This back foam roller is composed of four rows of bumpy, medium-density foam and a spinal gap to give your spine a painless stretch.
The durable EVA foam can withstand up to 1,000 lbs and is easy to wipe down after breaking a sweat. Unlike most foam rollers, AcuMobility’s roller has added height which makes working your entire back a breeze.
- Designed with spinal pressure relief in mind
- Travel-friendly size of 11.5 inches
- Easy to clean and durable EVA foam build
- Remarkable weight capacity
- Not ideal for deep tissue massage
7. Best Vibration: Epitomie Fitness VIBRA Foam Roller
If your muscles are stubborn and need a push to loosen up, upgrading to a vibrating foam roller can help ease that stiff back.
Foam rollers already do an exceptional job at relieving pain and stretching out muscles. The added pulses can make pre-workout and post-workout stretches more efficient.
The VIBRA high-density foam roller comes in four vibration intensities and one rhythm option that alternates between them.
The different pulses along with the honeycomb grid texture guarantee that your sore muscles and tight knots get some much-needed relief.
Although the battery lasts about four hours on the highest intensity, it only takes about an hour to charge back up.
- Targets deep tissues and relieves sore muscles
- Lifetime guarantee
- Fast-charging battery
- Carry case included
- High-density foam can be painful for beginners
What to Look for in a Foam Roller?
By now, you have seen different densities and shapes of foam rollers, and you’re probably wondering how to pick the right one for you.
Before making a purchase, there are a few factors you should consider:
Foam Type and Density
Good quality foam rollers are mainly built from EVA or EPE foam, both are condensed and tightly molded, which gives them a smooth, durable finish.
PE foam is slightly less durable, but is budget-friendly and will give you your money’s worth.
How dense the foam roller should be is up to your experience and tolerance levels. Low-density or soft foam is perfect for beginners and those with sensitive trigger points. Medium-density is a slight upgrade for beginners and is an intermediate user’s best tool.
Lastly, high-density foam rollers are the most intense of all. Their noteworthy rigidness stretches your muscles and hits those deeply embedded knots.
Soft to medium foams are better suited for back pain relief. However, if you’ll be using your foam roller for physical therapy, consult your physical therapist about which firmness level is best for your case.
Smooth vs Textured
While both work on increasing your range of motion, stretching your muscles, and providing great pre and post-workout routines, textured or gridded foam rollers could be too intense for a beginner.
If you’re just starting out, we recommend opting for a smooth roller till your muscles get the hang of rolling. If you’re looking for an upgrade to your standard roller, a textured roller will give you a more precise, muscle group targeting massage.
Small foam rollers are easy to carry around, can be versatile, and used with different exercises and muscle groups. However, they can be difficult to use if you’re new to foam rolling.
Larger foam rollers, specifically those that are about 36-inches, cover a wider range of muscles and provide equal pressure throughout. They’re particularly efficient when used for back pain.
The same applies to half foam rollers, they’re handy but their size determines just how versatile they can be.
Benefits of Foam Rollers for Back Pain
While foam rollers are noted to be a great addition to any workout routine, they provide targeted benefits for back pain.
Most experts advise against using foam rollers for the lower back. While it may seem harmless, your lower back has no structure to protect your spine from the applied pressure, which can cause contractions and damage to the muscle.
Rolling your upper back will release muscle tension, increase range of motion, and can help alleviate back pain. Always refer back to your doctor or physical therapist before using a foam roller for any back injuries.
How to Use a Foam Roller on Your Back
Foam rollers should be used on your back by rolling on them back and forth slowly, and from your neck till the end of your ribcage. Avoid rolling all the way down to your lower back.
While rolling, if you find a tense spot, wait for a few seconds till it releases, and continue rolling. If the tender spot hurts, don’t linger on it while rolling to avoid injury.
Unless prescribed otherwise, we recommend using a foam roller before working, and after working out. This is a way to help your muscles recover, and boost circulation.
Best Foam Roller for Back Pain: The Final Verdict
Foam rollers with all their shapes and forms are a great addition to any fitness routine, be it physical therapy, pilates, yoga, or just a regular stretcher, their versatility is undeniable.
We recommend going for a smooth, low-density foam roller if you’re just starting out, like the OPTP PRO-Roller Soft Foam Roller.
If you’re into yoga or if you spend a lot of time in the gym and looking for their best all-around tool, the TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller got you covered.
Whatever your foam rolling needs are, we hope our buying guide helps you find the best foam roller for back pain to get you rolling!
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Last update on 2021-11-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API