As a Sports Chiropractor, I am qualified in many different forms of muscle work, such as Active Release Technique (ART), Muscle testing, Kinesio-taping, Dry Needling (Medical Acupuncture). These are probably the best manual therapies for preventing injury and optimizing performance. That's why there's always a sports chiropractor on Olympic and professional sports teams.
For runners, chiropractic can be used for injury prevention because it emphasizes proper alignment of the spine and pelvis. The most common running-related injuries I see, which range from recreational runners to professional athletes, are
Misalignment of the spine can cause unnecessary tension on one particular body part versus an equal distribution of pressure. It’s important to assess all areas which move, attach, push and pull in order for a muscle/joint to work efficient and pain free.
Major causes of improper alignment include running in the same direction on the same course every day; running often slanted surfaces, such as a beach; and not replacing shoes approximately every 400-600miles.
Fix these training errors that cause misalignment with a few simple tweaks:
From my experience there is a lot that can contribute to improper spine or pelvic alignment, and sometimes it has nothing to do with running. As humans, we aren’t created to sit and be in one particular position all day and then go for a run. The muscles are in a state of tightness on one side and are lengthened on the other, and then you go for a run and your pelvis can shifts, causing compensation.
Switch positions and seats, if possible, every 30 minutes during the day. Varied posture remains the best posture.
Try sitting on a stability ball—it challenges your abdominal muscles and allows you to rock your pelvis, which allows more movement into your joints. Switch between a chair and stability ball, stand, and take short walk breaks if you work in an office.
Whether you run in the morning soon after rising, or in the afternoon/evening after sitting all day at work, a proper warm-up also helps prevent injury.
Warm-up and Stretches to Prevent Injury
After years and years of treating patients for the majority of the same injuries, and recognizing patterns such as not warming up and/or stretching properly, it’s important to warm-up and stretching exercises.
The best injury-preventing warm-up for runners includes exercises that support the spine, get you locomotive, moving the joints. Your hip socket is a great example—you need to warm up your hips so they can move as freely as possible to respond to slips, quick changes in stride and uneven terrain.
This takes two minutes to complete; do 10 or so reps of each exercise and move to the next. Start each exercise in a standing position.
Be consistent, and Stretch the following main running muscle groups:
Make sure to do so every day that you run. Stretch for about 30-60 seconds on each side for each exercise. A complete stretching routine should take about five minutes.
Combined, the warm-up and stretches occupy seven minutes—not a lot of time compared to the hours you could spend on injury rehabilitation.
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