Before you roll: Precautions and Contra-indications

As a Physiotherapist, before a new client begins exercising with me they are required to fill in a form outlining their health history. I have included this link to the PAR-Q  (the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire) if you are unsure about your physical fitness.

Similarly, If you are at all unsure about using a foam roller for exercising, you should first consult with your GP or a trusted health professional such as a physiotherapist.

There are a number of precautions and contra-indications you should be aware of before you start to roll.


A contra-indication means that you should not use a foam roller without consulting with your GP. This is particularly relevant if you have any of the following issues:

  • severe scoliosis
  • severe kyphosis
  • vertigo or dizziness
  • recent fractures
  • certain types of cancer*
  • osteoporosis**


Generally,  whenever you start a new exercise regime, especially if you have not exercised for some time  it is wise to start slowly and with the basics.

If you experience pain performing any of the exercises featured on Physio on a Roll.……….  STOP.

Read through the “tips” that accompany the exercise instructions.

Check your technique and execution of the exercise. If there is still pain when you perform the move again, try an easier option from the menu or omit it from your routine.

In general, all your roller exercises should be performed without  back or neck pain.

The basic roller exercises are designed to help you to activate your deep stabilising muscles. These deep muscles are switched on at a low-level of muscle contraction. As such, all the roller exercises should be able to be performed in a pain-free manner.

You can use a pillow for support at your neck, at least initially, so that the chosen exercise can be performed in a pain free manner.

Similarly, if you find that the pressure of the roller is uncomfortable, drape a thick towel over the roller. Alternatively, choose a less dense roller on which to perform your exercises and then progress to a harder/denser roller as you are able.

Please note that you can also attempt almost all of the beginner exercises on the floor. Simply master the floor position and then progress onto a roller.


*The latest research suggests that combining exercise with cancer treatment can have many benefits; similar positive results are also being reported with exercise therapy post cancer treatment.

**as a physiotherapist I have found that exercise with weights and resistance also has a beneficial effect for clients with osteoporosis. You may need to use a lower density roller for comfort.

Please contact me if you are unsure or having problems.


For the latest news and access to out exclusive content sign up to our mailing list today!