Chiropractic Treatment for Runners

(Chapter 42 of Running: Maximize Performance & Minimize Injuries by Dr Donald A Ozello DC)

      Chiropractic treatment and running are a perfect complement. Runners of all levels require their body to function at its highest capacity. 

      Chiropractic treatment maximizes the body’s healing capability and enhances function by re-establishing proper skeletal motion and optimizing nerve flow.

      Chiropractic: Chiropractic care is a catalyst for improving an athlete’s health, fitness, function and recuperation. Chiropractic care is drug-free, surgery-free functional medicine. The primary objective of chiropractic treatment is the optimization of nerve flow and the re-establishment of correct skeletal biomechanics. Chiropractic treatment works for preventive and maintenance care. Chiropractic care is effective for a large number of running-related injuries.

      Chiropractic doctors utilize a treatment procedure called the chiropractic adjustment or chiropractic manipulation. The chiropractic adjustment is a high-velocity, low-amplitude, focused thrust that re-establishes proper motion to a joint and reduces nerve impingement.

      Chiropractic care restores correct skeletal joint motion, optimizes nerve flow, decreases muscle tension, increases range of motion and decreases symptoms. These factors lead to the maximization of the body’s healing capabilities and increased musculoskeletal function. Improved healing and optimal function adds up to injury prevention, faster recovery and increased performance.

      Athletic injuries occur for many reasons, including incorrect training practices, repetition, trauma, poor warm-up, insufficient cool-down and inadequate rest. 

      Chiropractic treatment for athletes helps repair various injuries, including but not limited to aches and pains, sore muscles, muscle strains, ligament sprains, tendinopathies, neck pain, headaches, lower back pain, runner’s knee (PFPS), shin splints and plantar fasciitis. Nerve impingement conditions such as quadrilateral space syndrome, sciatica, tarsal tunnel syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome and thoracic outlet syndrome are common ailments effectively treated by chiropractic doctors.

      Chiropractic Testimonials: An impressive list of athletes state chiropractic treatment helped elevate their performance and boost their careers. Olympic Gold medal decathlon champion Dan O’Brien said, “If it wasn’t for Chiropractic, I wouldn’t have won the gold medal.” Pro Football Hall of Fame Wide Receiver Jerry Rice, a spokesperson for The Foundation of Chiropractic Progress, stated, “Chiropractic care was the key to keeping me in the game.”

      Competitive and recreational runners of all ages and fitness levels benefit from chiropractic treatment. Beginners and top-tier competitors in numerous running sports including triathlons, track and field, sprinting, marathons, ultra-marathons, trail runners, hurdlers and race walkers can improve their health and their game day performance with regular chiropractic care.

      Runners utilize chiropractic treatment to lessen the cumulative pounding that training and competing places on their bodies. Runners and jumpers commonly obtain lower extremity injuries, such as calf muscle strains, proximal hamstrings tendinopathy, peroneal tendinopathy, shin splints, iliotibial band syndrome, patello-femoral pain syndrome, patellar tendinopathy, Achilles tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis.

      Nervous System: The nervous system controls every motion of the musculoskeletal system. The coordinated movements of running begin in the brain. The brain sends signals to the working muscles. The motion is performed and return signals are immediately transmitted back to the brain. 

      The nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord, spinal nerves and peripheral nerves. The spinal cord runs through the spinal column. The spinal nerves branch off the spinal cord in between each of the individual vertebrae.

      The spinal nerves and the peripheral nerves proceed to various parts of the body depending on where the spinal nerve branches off the spinal cord. The nerves which branch off the spinal cord in the neck and upper midback go to the neck, shoulders and upper extremities. The nerves which branch off the spinal cord in the lower back go into the lower back, hips, legs, feet and toes.

      Impingement along the course of a nerve can lead to pain, symptoms, weakness, lack of endurance and decreased performance. For example, impingement of the sciatic nerve can lead to intense and debilitating symptoms in the buttocks, leg and foot.

      Chiropractic treatment optimizes nerve flow. The chiropractic adjustment restores correct skeletal motion, which in turn lessens pressure on nerves. Proper skeletal motion allows nerve signals to transmit from the brain to its destination and back without interference. Optimal nervous system function increases health, improves athletic performance and maximizes healing.

      Kinetic Chain: The kinetic chain is a term used to explain how the musculoskeletal system functions as one synergistic unit. The feet are the foundation of the weight bearing kinetic chain. The lower extremities are the prime movers of running. Healthy feet and legs propel us while running and provide a stable but dynamic base for motion. Unhealthy feet and legs prevent us from achievement of personal running records.

      If any one of the numerous joints in the feet or legs is not functioning properly, another area of the body must compensate. Overcompensation or continual compensation places an increased demand on a joint, ligament or muscle. Constant over demand is a precursor for injury.

      The weight bearing nature of running and the repetitive utilization of the lower extremities predisposes them for skeletal misalignments. The continuous pounding placed on the lower extremities while running makes them prime candidates for chiropractic treatment.

      Chiropractic care restores proper skeletal motion by removing skeletal misalignments. Correct skeletal motion in the feet, lower extremities, hips and spine are vital to proper function and biomechanics. Chiropractic treatment corrects musculoskeletal motion and maximizes the capabilities of the kinetic chain. A properly functioning kinetic chain lessens the possibility of injury and increases performance.

      Conclusion: Proper skeletal motion and optimum nerve flow maximizes the body’s function and healing capabilities. Runners demand the most of their bodies. Chiropractic treatment helps runners achieve their goals by placing the body in a position to work at its highest capacity. Consistent chiropractic care lowers injury risk, lessens injury recovery time, promotes proper healing, decreases recurrences and raises performance levels. Add regular chiropractic treatment to your health strategies to minimize injury risk and maximize running performance.

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