I’m pretty flexible.  Actually, I think my chiropractor has once said “freakishly flexible.”  It has its perks, for sure, but it also has its drawbacks. Stretching, for one, is difficult at times.  Getting a good stretch for any portion of my arm is nearly impossible unless I’ve twisted it into a position which I’m not certain is entirely healthy.  (No photos of this, the freak show is at the circus.)  Generally I can get a semi-decent stretch out of most muscle groups in my legs providing they’re a bit tight.  One thing I haven’t been able to stretch well no matter how I contort my body?  My IT band. You’d think with all the problems I have with my IT bands, stretching it would be easy, but it isn’t.  I’ve looked up every stretch on the internet and tried them all.  I’ve asked my chiropractor for stretches and tried all of those.  In the end, none of them stretched the darned thing enough.

it's the big, long white thingy (to put it technically)

Enter the foam roller.

Naturally, while looking for IT band stretches, I’d stumbled upon loads of videos on how to stretch the IT band with a foam roller.  I’ve mentioned before I’m a cheapskate yes?  Yeah, this is why I hadn’t bought one immediately.  I figured there was some way to stretch my IT band which didn’t include paying money for a piece of foam.  Turns out, I was wrong.

I bought one a week ago.  I have since formed a love-hate relationship with it.  My first experiences with the foam roller sent me back to the internet to make SURE I had been executing the maneuvers correctly.  Nothing should hurt that much, right?  Right?  After reviewing about 7 different videos and analyzing the angle and technique, I gave it another shot.

it looks so innocent

I grunted.

I groaned.

I acted as though I were in labor.

I think I cried a bit.

I believe I spoke in tongues.

It hurt.

you can see here the complexity of our relationship

Afterward the sides of my legs were HOT.  I iced them down and while I iced, I did a bit more research on the foam roller.  Turns out these things are called the poor man’s massage therapist.  Remembering the massage therapist working out knots in my back made my experience with the foam roller seem… well.. reasonable.  That shit hurts.

I woke the morning after my first use of the foam roller with legs sore on the sides.  They felt as though they should be showing bruises.  I rolled them again anyway (after having looked up how often to use a foam roller – I was not going to be accused of too much of a good thing).  The good news? After rolling three days in a row, I took a two-day break.  After those two days I rolled again.  Miraculously, rolling my right leg was barely painful.  The thing works!  Unfortunately, my left IT band is the one which usually causes me great problems and it still is.  Granted I’ve done enough physical labor this past weekend to aggravate the thing and so I’m not surprised, but it’s not much better than when I started.  If I were judging just based on my left leg, I’d have thrown the roller out.  The results for my right leg, however, are encouraging me.

So there you have it.  Ms. Cheapskate bought a foam roller to perhaps enable herself to continue running (it just does a number on my IT band, really). I’m hoping I’ll end up loving the thing rather than grunting and cursing every time I use it.  (Much to the confusion of my cats who are pretty sure the thing is mauling me and have tried to help me out while I’m using it – DANGEROUS.)

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