Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products, including the Chirp Wheel. That said, we may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
If you’re an avid viewer of the television show Shark Tank or on any sort of social media, you’ve likely heard of the Chirp Wheel. You’ve no doubt seen the ads. You know, the ones with a middle-aged bearded man wrapped in bubble wrap rolling over a glorified PVC pipe while satisfyingly popping all the bubbles. Ring a bell? Here’s a refresher:
Chirp may employ a bit of levity and humor in their advertising, but you know what’s not funny? Back pain.
In fact, according to studies, 80% of all adults will experience back pain sometime in their lifetime. What’s worse, back pain is the second highest reason for adult disabilities leading to missed work days!
Which isn’t that the crux? For a lot of people, back issues aren’t a result of a major injury, but rather a multifactorial effect of sitting behind a desk all day (or similar).
So you have to sit to work, but you miss work because you sit. Quite the catch-22 if you ask us.
Introducing the Chirp Wheel
Well hey, you gotta work and the Chirp Wheel just might be the thing you need to not only alleviate your nagging back pain, but potentially prevent it too! Keep in mind, we’re not just referring to the low back, but the middle to upper back too.
At first glance, you’d be forgiven if you think the Chirp Wheel looks like a cut up piece of PVC pipe with foam wrapped around it. That’s because that’s exactly what it is, mostly. But take it from us, it may look a bit basic, but in reality delivers an extraordinary amount of relief.
Upon closer inspection, the Chirp Wheel is actually much more refined. The closed cell foam has a unique textured pattern meant to improve grip, control, and stability. It’s thin, but provides just enough cushion to make it comfortable to roll on, yet dense enough to apply pressure where it’s needed most.
Thanks to the scalloped center a.k.a. Spinal Canal, the Chirp Wheel cradles your bony spine and redirects all the pressure outward and upward to the surrounding muscles instead. In essence, it’s a four way stretch all in one movement.
It’s so simple, it’s genius and will likely leave you asking yourself, “Why didn’t I think of that?”.
Another (multi) million dollar idea, gone. Drat!
Chirp Wheel vs Foam Roller
If you’re familiar with the term “rolling out your back”, you’re probably wondering how the Chirp Wheel compares versus an all-purpose foam roller. After all, you probably have a couple already lying around collecting dust, right? We won’t judge.
In principle, they are both the same in that you gently and with as much finesse as you can muster, roll up and down on it. However, that’s also where the similarities end. For a full explainer, have a look at this helpful video from Chirp:
As you just saw, a foam roller is a jack or all trades while the Chirp Wheel is specialized to specifically target the areas around the spine. That’s not only its greatest asset, but perhaps shortcoming too.
You see, for what it does, the Chirp Wheel will perform miracles stretching and elongating your stiff, achy back–and that’s fantastic. On the flip side, you can’t use it for your tight quads and hammies or essentially any other extremity of the body. It’s totally limited to the areas of the spine and some may consider its lack of versatility relative to a foam roller as a con.
We’ll ultimately leave that up to you to decide, but in our opinion, we would prefer to spend a little extra money on improved efficacy over general utility when it comes to back pain.
How To Use The Chirp Wheel: A Few Suggestions
There’s really nothing too technical about using a Chirp Wheel for the first time, but here are some helpful suggestions:
First, if you’ve never used one before, perhaps place it against a wall while leaning against it with your back. You might look like a bear rubbing on a tree for a moment, but it’s an easy way to gauge the sensation, mechanism, and movement of what to expect.
After you’ve tried that and have thrown caution to the wind, hop on the floor and try it that way.
While sitting on the ground, simply place the Chirp Wheel behind you and try to center the Spinal Canal with your spine. Lean back ever so slightly as to increase the pressure against the wheel. Now, plant both feet squarely on the floor with knees bent and slowly bring your pelvis up so that your entire body is nearly parallel to the ground and gently roll backwards so that the majority of your body weight is now balanced on top of the Chirp Wheel. If you’ve done it correctly, your positioning should look something like this:
From there, slowly roll back and forth, using your feet to move and stabilize you. Voilà! You’re now one step closer to becoming a chirp wheel master. With practice and a little bit of confidence (and gasping), you’ll be as limber as Gumby in a Las Vegas heatwave.
Frequently Asked Questions About Using The Chirp Wheel
- Is the Chirp Wheel safe to use?
- How long should I use the Chirp Wheel?
- Does it hurt to use the Chirp Wheel?
1. Is the Chirp Wheel Safe?
Actually, yes it is IF you follow the instructions and heed the precautions. In fact, the Chirp Wheel is FDA registered as a Class-1 Medical Device. What does that mean? It simply means that you have a low to moderate risk of injuring yourself while using it.
In most instances it is considered safe, however there are some contraindications such as if you have a history of spinal stenosis, back surgery, or the like. If you have doubts, ALWAYS consult your physician first.
2. How Long Should You Use The Chirp Wheel?
On Chirp’s website, they state that using it 5-10 minutes several times a day is ok. From our experience, we noticed a significant amount of relief within just a couple minutes. Whether more is better is debatable, but use your best judgement and do what works best for you. Like anything, consistency is always key to seeing improvement, so keep at it!
3. Does It Hurt To Use The Chirp Wheel?
This question is subjective since we all experience different levels of pain, but here’s what we thought. Initially, using the Chirp Wheel for the very first time was fairly uncomfortable. It wasn’t necessarily pain, but it bordered along it.
That’s really not too surprising since our posture is oftentimes pretty poor from being hunched over a computer most days. As promised, the severity lessened the more we used it and did notice a significant amount of tension release–especially between the shoulders. Oh sweet relief!
Again, ease into using the Chirp Wheel slowly. It’s a great tool, but everyone is different and it may not be a right fit for your present condition.
A Few Final Observations and Cautions
For all intents and purposes, the Chirp Wheel is a great device to help you address some lingering back problems, but it’s not a cure-all. Ongoing pain is a huge red flag, so stop being stubborn and go see a professional already.
Also, balancing on the Chirp Wheel can take a little getting used to. Because of how narrow it is, there is the possibility of it toppling over if you don’t center your body weight. That happened to us and it’s something you too should be aware of.
This will never cross your mind until it happens, but if you have long hair, tie it up stat! Long, dangling hair tends to get rolled over and results in a nice hair tug. OUCH! Don’t let it happen to you.
Going in on the Chirp Wheel, we largely knew what to expect but there were certainly some surprises as well. The amount of pressure on our back was much more than we anticipated, but in a good way. You could positively feel the direct pressure to the muscles and you knew it was working.
After becoming accustomed to using it, we really quite enjoyed the routine of taking it out at least once a day to melt away the days’ tension between our shoulders. It just felt nice and was something to look forward to.
If you’re on the fence, which you probably are if you’ve made it this far into our review, you shouldn’t be. Chirp offers a 60 Day Money Back Guarantee! That’s more than enough time to try it out and determine its effectiveness. We’re going to guess that most people do decide to keep it and you will too.
The Chirp Wheel comes in three different sizes, 6″, 10″ and 12″. Each are uniquely effective in their own right and if you’re considering buying one, it’s actually more cost effective to just buy the bundle of all three for $99. Individually they will run you $45 to $65 depending on the size you want. Just splurge on all three and if you don’t have a need, just give one to a friend or family member. No doubt someone you know will benefit.
All in all, we really feel like the Chirp Wheel is an effective means to eliminate or at least minimize back pain flare ups.
Editor-In-Chief at Recovatech. Dr. Ben is a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic with over 10 years of clinical experience. He specializes in structural and neurological imbalances with an emphasis on functional movement patterns, exercise performance, and muscle recovery. He has been the team chiropractor for professional baseball and soccer organizations, as well as collegiate athletes. In his personal life, he’s always been driven when it comes to athletics and personal performance.