Ever wondered how a chiropractor can help with your everyday health? We’ve asked a practitioner for his top tips on maintaining skeletal health, to keep you in the best shape possible and get you across the finish line injury free.
Make sure you’re aligned
The majority of the muscles required in the running action have a connection to the pelvis and 90% of people who visit a chiropractor will have a pelvic imbalance of some description. It is possible that leg muscles can be affected by an imbalance of the pelvis. Many people who visit a chiropractor could have problems with their pelvis but may not experience lower back pain symptoms. If misaligned, this will affect your gait, so muscles tire quicker and run the risk of injury. For me, this is one of the most important considerations for optimal running.
Not forgetting the thoracic spine (neck, lower back and ribcage) – with the correct thoracic alignment and flexibility, it’ll help you breathe deeper which means you get more oxygen in and the CO2 out. With the correct alignment, this will help you achieve optimum activity and, in many cases, improved performance (even PBs).
Keep the joints mobile
From the ankles and knees to the lower back joints; if you have any restricted movement it could mean that the joints in your body are not flexing as they should. There are many benefits to having flexible joints not only as part of everyday movement, but especially when exercising. For runners in particular, it can help with your stride and getting the most out of your training. When the joints are flexible, you’re not using extra energy to free the muscles to move, so all of your efforts can be put into your running.
Look after the muscles
At the peak of your training, you may be exercising more than normal which can lead to a build-up of lactic acid in the muscles – the by-product of metabolism. If this is not removed from the muscles it can cause muscle aches, pains and stiffness and, especially if you’re thinking about exercising or training the next day, it can lead to diminished performance and/or injury. A good approach would be to see a chiropractor who is qualified in sports therapy; the skeletal system will be treated as well as the muscles being stretched and massaged to help the body remove the lactic acid.
About the author: Nick Richmond is a McTimoney Chiropractor and owner of the Chiros Clinic in Hampshire.