It has been a little while now that I started using the Blackroll. Basically, this comes from the fact that I am too lazy to make appointments with a physiotherapist even when I have green light from my health insurance. Lucky me that there no longer is a need for an expert to take care, I can do it myself (this might sound awkward when not read in the context…)
What does the roll do? It is a tool to “self-massage to release the myofascia (connective tissue of muscles and muscle groups)“ [quoted from blackroll.com]. These connective tissues tend to stick together while they should not.
Rolling on the blackroll has a similar effect as a physiotherapist. While I received treatments because of my knee she was basically trying to do the same using her forearm on the outside of my leg. You can see how the roll works with this in number 3 under the following link showing the exercises: Exercise – Preparation & Regeneration
Personally, I am doing the regeneration exercises every morning just after getting up. Thereby I avoid missing them in the evening. If you are new to this kind of treatments, you will go through some pain. The before mentioned tissues have to adapt to the massage but eventually the exercises should not be harmful.
You can even workout with the blackroll, as shown in the following exercises: Workout & Mobilization
Blackroll also offers a ball, which I did not buy. Sticking to the Lacrosse ball I got from Crossfit Munich works just as good and is a little cheaper. The ball gives you a precision advantage over the roll. Hitting the trigger points exactly works just great with it. Plus: you can take it with you when travelling while it consumes hardly any space. After long runs I use it to rejuvenate my sole and work through the middle foot muscles. Small in size but with a big impact on my running form these muscles deserve treatment.
The lacrosse ball also works perfectly for mobilizing your shoulders. Just put it under your shoulder blade and move the straight arm from your hip to your head as shown here.
Recently added to the portfolio is the Duo-ball. It perfectly allows to massage the muscles next to your spine. More painful than poke in the eye with a sharp stick but after a little while you get used to it. I highly recommend supporting with your arms at first and just sequentially adding more pressure on the back.
Overall, I am a great fan of the blackroll as I have significantly less pain in my knees and back. So you might want to give it a try.