Chiropractic & Running

Chiropractic and running.  Do they really mix well?

Over the years, I have been asked by a number of runners if chiropractors are really legitimate and if it is worth their time to go see one for some of their aches and pains that do not seem to be related to their running biomechanics.  As my reputation, as is that of my entire staff, is on the line when any of us make a recommendation about medical personnel, I took these questions very seriously and here is my thoughts and opinion.
Running puts great stress on our bodies, even when we do it right.  That is why stretching, strengthening and cross training are so important to remaining in balance.  This is true of any sport, but here we are focused on running.  The problem is, most of us do other things in our life like sitting at a desk all day, standing on our feet in a stationary position, bending over helping kids at school, lifting our own children and so forth.  Most of the time it is the “other” activities which cause the imbalance.

Chiropractic medicine is very similar to what my staff and I do, that is analyzing biomechanics (albeit with a great deal of specific education behind them)  and making adjustments as necessary.  There is much more than this, but there is not space to go into all they know here.  The key word here is “as necessary”.   I firmly believe in Chiropractic medicine, as my first experience was excellent.  What made the session excellent was threefold: 1.  He was an athlete and understood many of the pains I was going through; 2. He specialized in “Sports Chiropractic” for more active individuals; 3. He only treated what needed help.

I went to him with many of the preconceived notions about back snapping and neck twisting that we all hear from those who chose the “quick fix” chiropractor.  What I got instead was a thorough assessment of my structural and muscle imbalances, followed by a stretching session and never once did he try to adjust my back or any other joint.  Instead, in a very professional manner, after the detailed assessment of my biomechanical movement and a few x-rays of the affected area, he described my issues as being related to my old job where I sat most of the day which in turn caused all my hip muscles to be tight and that put stress on my lower back.  It was not until the third or fourth visit that he attempted to realign the subluxation of the SI joint, and only after he had done more flexibility stretches.  Bottom line was my lower back pain disappeared immediately after that visit and with regular visits to him whenever my back started acting up, I could avoid having my wife tie my shoes for me.

However, as good as that experience was, my second chiropractor visit was the terrible wrenching, twisting, and snapping experience followed by a request for payment.  I was sore for days afterward and never went back as they were more interested in my money than fixing me.   If my issues flare up again,  I will definitely make the drive, no matter how far, to my original doctor.

Overall, many of the runners who visit our shop have had good experiences with chiropractors for biomechanical fixes, but you must be choosy as there are good and bad in any profession.  That is why my staff and I recommend a very select few doctors, physical therapists, podiatrists and of course chiropractors unless we have heard a good deal of positive results or had a personal experience with them that was very positive.

By the way the GREAT Chiropractor was Dr. Shawn Finn, located in Seven Fields, PA.

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