Foam rollers are used to increase soft tissue condition and increase range of motion. Although it may look like it feels nice, this will hurt! This is an important thing to mix into your stretching routine.
If you tie a knot in a rope and then you pull on the rope the knot will only get tighter. With a foam roller, you will break up all those knots, adhesions, and scar tissue that tend to accumulate over time and not only will you improve range of motion (no more knots), but you'll also improve overall tissue quality as well.
trigger points occur when the muscle has been over stimulated. These point can cause pain or can be pain free until direct pressure is placed on it. Trigger points can often send referral pain to another point. An example of this is tennis elbow. The issue is the extensor muscles in the hand but the pain is felt on the outside of the elbow.
now because most of you aren't aware of all the accu/trigger points the foam roller will allow you to do some basic moves and because the trigger points are in a swollen state they will be the highest point and thus the foam roller will put all of the pressure you apply onto it. (This is the part that hurts) When you feel this, you will want to slow down the roller and then repeat the spot you are rolling on until, if possible it doesn't hurt. It may take multiple sessions to free up scar tissue and knots in certain areas.
there are many products that accomplish the same thing, but this has to be the most economical and easiest to accomplish (this is why I choose it) It must be obtainable!
The Stick is a short flexible stick with mini rollers on it. its more portable, but doesn't allow you to put the same pressure as a foam roller.
Migun Beds is a bed that has round jade stones that are heated and roll to accomplish the same task as the roller. Although it says you can lay on your front, I beleive it to be designed solely for your back and legs. This uses inferred which really helps with muscular recovery. The downfall is these beds are very expensive and I beleive to be limited in the capabilities and is a one size fits all solution (meaning that it doesn't adjust based on height, which is a policy that I'm strictly against) plus side because they are a growing company they offer free treatments in their locations once you buy your own sheets to put on the bed $10
Massage I don't think I need to describe how this works but lets be honest, this really depends on the skill of the RMT and as well how much time and money you can put towards your treatments. This is also why some people will say they are sore after a massage. (this is a good thing)
Fact: Soft tissue and range of motion are huge factors involved with human performance. look into it try it!