Run Your Best with Chiropractic
As an Atlanta chiropractor and avid runner, I’m constantly asked by patients – and prospective patients – how chiropractic Spinecare can help maximize athletic performance and minimize injury. My response is that without chiropractic care, it is virtually impossible to be the best runner you can be. I experienced this personally over years of running, prior to having my own spine adjusted, and Dr. Sherwood and I have witnessed it first-hand with numerous patients who comment on how much better they run once they receive chiropractic care.
Here are reasons why chiropractic is essential for runners:
1.) Chronic injuries can heal once the body’s alignment is restored.
Many runners come in for chiropractic care after they’ve been suffering for some time. Some runners even consider giving up running because they’ve lost hope that their injuries will ever go away. Runners’ common complaints include knee pain, hip, thigh, ankle and foot pain. These are usually due to lateral tracking of the patella, meniscus, fibula head misalignment, iliotibial band (IT) syndrome, shortened psoas muscles and sacro-iliac misalignments. Additionally, heel, ankle and foot pain is reported usually due to previous sprain/strain injury and/or plantar fasciitis conditions.
If you have ever significantly inverted your foot, spraining the outside of your ankle, you almost can bet that your talus bone has moved out of its normal position. It is impossible to have proper foot gait with a misaligned talus bone. Symptoms of talus bone misalignment include shin splints, lateral knee pain, and pain on the dorsum or top of the foot during or after running. Many people run for years with misaligned feet and wonder why they hurt so much!
There are other pain complaints among runners but these are probably the most common. While we will almost always need to adjust the knees, ankles and feet of our runners, we find that lumbar, hip and pelvic misalignments are usually the primary cause of the problems. Once the pelvis is leveled out and extremity misalignments are corrected, the symptoms generally go away within a few weeks. Patients who have suffered for months or years are often amazed at the body’s ability to heal itself once alignment has been restored.
2.) Runners experience faster recovery from new injuries when under ongoing chiropractic care.
There have been several chiropractic studies that found that patients under chiropractic care recover in a quarter of the time compared to other forms of treatment. We know how important running is to our patients, and it’s our goal to get you up and out as soon as possible. Once you are not in pain, we recommend that runners continue getting adjusted to prevent future problems and to encourage proper flexibility of the spinal joints.
3.) Runners report better lung capacity under chiropractic care.
Almost all of our runners benefit from chiropractic adjustments from the waist up as well. Because of the impact, both positive and negative, that running has on the spine and other joints, it is important that your thoracic (mid-back) and cervical (neck) receive attention as well. The ribs attach to your thoracic spine, and many runners are not accessing their full lung capacity because the vertebral segments are not allowing the ribs to separate upon inspiration and expiration. Many patients remark how much better they are breathing after their adjustments, including those patients with asthma. If you watch other runners, you will observe that the head is often jutted forward, which requires chiropractic adjustments to the neck and upper back to correct this postural problem.
4.) Maintaining alignment of your spine/body will enable you to enjoy your sport longer.
This one is so important because it’s tragic to have to hang up your running shoes sooner than you need to. Once you learn more about chiropractic in our office, you will discover how the spine houses and protects the most important organ in your body—the nervous system. The spacers in between the bones of your spine are called discs, and they are the most important shock absorbers you have. Regular chiropractic adjustments help you to preserve the discs by encouraging proper spinal curves, as well as distributing the stress evenly over other shock-absorbing cartilage in the body. It’s essential for runners to have the forces from impact distributed evenly over the joints of the body or premature aging of these areas will occur and premature pain will be the result.
In conclusion, if you are a runner and want to achieve or maintain optimal health and structural balance, include chiropractic care as part of your regiment.
To Your Health,
~ Dr. Kathleen Sherwood