Chiropractic care for runners

Why does it make sense to see a chiropractor after a marathon? Pain relief, reduction of stiffness, and increased mobility of the back, hips, and legs are just a few reasons that come to mind. While these are fairly obvious and well known benefits of chiropractic care, there is at least one more factor to consider; faster recovery through the reduction of inflammation. With North Vancouver being one of the most active communities in all of Canada, finding a knowledgeable North Shore chiropractor can compliment the training and recovery of marathon runners. 

Researcher Justin Crane, PhD, has extensively studied muscle recovery and has shown that physical medicine is clinically beneficial for reducing inflammation and promoting mitochondrial biogenesis – the cellular process that converts energy in the body. By using a muscle biopsy, Crane was able to look inside the cells and see a reduction in the inflammatory response after treatment. The study suggests that manual therapy after a marathon reduces pain through the same biological mechanisms as most pain medications, but without the side effects of Ibuprofen or other common NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

But what about the other immediate needs of a runner? Chiropractic care, including soft tissue techniques, relieves muscle soreness, promotes circulation, and eases joint strain. Studies published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that massage techniques, such as Active Release Techniques (ART) and myofascial release, lowered the intensity of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after 48 hours of high intensity training.

Benefits of Active Release Technique for Runners

Distance running requires high physical exertion that can lead to the formation of adhesions between fascia and muscle, creating a restriction in muscle movement. Active Release Techniques (ART) is a prominent, go-to treatment for competitive long distance runners. Fascia is softened and tight muscles relax by providing pressure and tension to muscles and the surrounding soft tissue structures (e.g. tendons and ligaments). The ART protocols work  well because it utilizes a specific contact that addresses muscle adhesions and then incorporates active motion of the athlete.

Reducing the adhesions early, ideally within 48 hours, will prevent the formation of future scar tissue, allow muscles to function efficiently, reduce joint strain and postural pain, and aid in a quicker return to training. Some of the most common muscles worked on in runners include the gluteal group,  hip flexors (including the psoas), piriformis, quadriceps, hamstrings, low back extensors, calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus), muscles surrounding the shin (including tibialis anterior and extensor hallucis longus), and the plantar fascia.

Meb Keflezighi, winner of the 2014 Boston Marathon and the first American to win in over 20 years, utilized chiropractic care as part of his marathon preparation and recovery. Following his victory, Meb said, “As an elite athlete, recovery and therapy is essential to staying healthy and competitive. I have seen my chiropractor for years and see him twice a week during training. His care has been especially helpful leading up to and including the Boston Marathon. I have been able to recover faster and easier after races.”

Contact our North Vancouver chiropractors today to find out more about treatment during marathon training and recovery of running injuries. Chiropractic care and registered massage therapy is conveniently located in the Lower Lonsdale neighbourhood and is available five days a week. New patients are always accepted. Call us to discuss treatment options!