The Sport of Running

Posted February 18, 2020 to Articles.

Tags: running

A recent statistic from marketwatch.com projects the running gear industry to increase to nearly 22.5 billion dollars by 2023. There’s no doubt that the sport of running has greatly evolved over the years, and it continues to be at the forefront of many of the major sports in the US and around the world. Whether you competitively run or just run for leisure, running is jam-packed with benefits ranging from physical, mental, and social aspects. Running feels good…for the most part.

The Sport of Running

As a runner, you know that you demand more out of your body than the average individual. There is no question that at some point, you may have felt some discomfort in your body during a run. But what happens when that discomfort continues to happen? It may not only continue to happen, but sometimes it gets worse.

Many runners are starting to turn to chiropractic care for their running-induced symptoms. Chiropractic care for runners can not only address active injuries, but it can also prevent future injuries as well. Additionally, regular chiropractic care can help improve range of motion and functional movement patterns, which will allow that individual to perform better during their runs.

The Sport of Running

So how does chiropractic care specifically help runners? The hallmark of chiropractic care is the adjustment. At 919 Spine, we assess your joints for hypomobility. A hypomobile joint is one that is moving poorly-or not even moving at all. Having a joint that is moving poorly can be a big problem in a runner as it can throw off your entire running biomechanics, which will cause you to run less effectively. Additionally, if a joint is moving poorly, more than likely you will have another joint that is pulling extra weight to compensate for that joint. A chiropractor will assess specific joints in your body and restore motion in those joints to allow you to perform to your fullest potential.

While a healthy joint is one that moves correctly, we understand that mobility can not fully be restored without addressing the muscles, too. Runners are notorious for having tight muscles, such as hamstrings, calves, plantar fascia, IT band, quadriceps, and gluteal muscles, just to name a few. At 919 Spine, we assess these major muscle groups involved with running, and manually stretch them in office. Additionally, we instruct runners on how they can effectively stretch these groups on their own to prevent future injuries. Here are some other techniques that we use in office to keep runners out of pain and performing better:

  1. Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization- Using tools made out of stainless steel to work on muscles. These tools help us break down scar tissue and adhesions that develop between the fascia and muscles. In doing so, the muscle is able to contract and relax normally, increasing the way it performs. It has been shown to increase range of motion of a given tissue, decrease pain, improve blood flow, reduce time it takes to recover from an injury.
  2. Cupping therapy- Cupping decompresses the superficial tissue such as the skin and fascia off the muscles and bringing blood flow to the area. In doing so, we can essentially “flush out” inflammation in the area. Additionally, adequate blood flow to tissues is super important for muscle relaxation. Cups provide a negative pressure on the skin, muscles, and fascia. This is different from the positive pressure of the deep tissue massage, soft tissue therapy, or instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization would provide. By increasing blood/lymphatic flow to the tissue cupping helps enhance the healing rate and speeds up the recovery process.
  3. Electric Muscle Stimulation- involves using electrical current to stimulate the surface of muscles to contract, which can release overall tension. Brings blood flow to the area which is also important in relaxing the muscles. Electrical stimulation is to administer medication for inflammation, contract muscles that are weak or not functioning well, and to help decrease pain or spasm. There are some evidence and cases where e-stim is used to help treat stubborn wounds. Electrical stimulation is a relatively passive modality; you do nothing (or very little) while the treatment is being applied. Most successful rehab programs include active participation by the patient and use the combination of other modalities as well as electric stimulation to help improve the patient’s condition. 
  4. Dry needling- Dry needling can loosen stiff muscles, ease joint pain, improve blood flow and oxygen circulation within the body. That brings results for those who are trying to optimize sports performance, recover faster from injury, or prevent issues from becoming chronic. When a needle hits a trigger point, metabolic waste chemicals including lactic acid that have been built up inside the tissue are released. Once this block is removed, the body increases blood flow and oxygen circulation to the area, and the body’s natural healing capabilities come into play. In general, trigger points cause tightness in the muscles that block blood flow and oxygen; dry needling removes that block. Dry needling differs from acupuncture in that it’s not considered curative on its own. It’s often part of a multi-technique therapy plan that may also include movement analysis, targeted exercises, and other interventions.
  5. Manipulation- Manipulation is the passive movement of a skeletal joint used to create an increased range of motion by using a high velocity low amplitude thrust. Manipulation, commonly associated with the neck and low back, can be used on all synovial joints throughout the body. In terms of therapeutic benefit, manipulation has been shown to decrease pain and muscle spasm, increase passive range of motion of the joint, faster recovery time on acute sprain/strains, and Positive physiological effects on the central nervous system. When combined with other therapies, manipulation has a positive impact on the ability of an athlete to recover from injury. It has been shown to help increase hip range of motion specifically allowing runners to have better form and be more efficient even if the runner was not in pain. 

Each of the above therapies are things that we use at 919 Spine Morrisville and 919 Spine Holly Springs to help improve recovery, enhance performance, and in general keep people pain free. If you have any questions or concerns please reach out to us or set up a consultation to see if any of the above treatments are options for you.