Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Running Injuries: Chiropractors for Sciatica and Slipped Discs

When I was 18 years old and in my freshman year at Penn State, I was working out on the stair stepper and slipped a disc in my L5 S1.  Ever since then I have had a lot of problems doing any kind of distance running.  When I run I get a sensation of my "back going out" meaning that I have a pain in my lower back, my butt and hamstring get incredibly tight, and I can no longer swing my left leg forward at the hip.  It is a really weird sensation that is hard to describe, but it completely hinders my forward momentum and I HAVE to stop.

This is really not a recipe for good running, and was making it difficult to enjoy my favorite sport for years.  I was really frustrated that I would be out on a run and BAM all of a sudden my back would go out, and I would lose all chance of successfully finishing my run.  It didn't necessarily happen every time I ran, but was more likely to happen in a race where I was pushing myself harder and running faster.

The first time I ran the Broad Street 10 miler this was a HUGE issue and I was miserable the entire second half of the race.  The next day at work I could barely walk at work, and my co-worker forced me to visit his Chiropractor, something I had always been reluctant to do (for some reason I hadn't heard positive things about the process.) I only wish I had gone SOONER and I am so grateful that he pushed me to attend that first time.

I am here today to change your opinion on Chiropractors if you are worried, or convince you to try it if you have been on the fence.  Of course, I think it is important to find the RIGHT Chiro, mine is extremely knowledgeable and has also worked in spine centers in hospitals. He is also really interested in exercise science and what helps to strengthen the back and core.  Just like with any doctor or professional, not every office that you find is going to be ideal, but if you do research and ask around to others for recommendations, I absolutely think it is the BEST option out there for back pain!

My Chiropractor is able to keep my back adjusted so that everything is in place and where it should be.  This means that my slipped disc is less likely to push on my sciatic nerve and cause the pain in my butt and hamstring.  He is also able to help adjust my hips.  My hips are frequently out of place and uneven, which is also a huge hindrance to running.  I can feel a huge difference in my hips, and therefore my stride, when my back is adjusted correctly.

My favorite part of the Chiropractor, besides how much it helps my running, is that it is all NATURAL.  When I had gone to "real" doctors before they had prescribed steroid shots in my back, muscle relaxers, pain killers, etc.  None of these things ever helped, and if anything just masked the pain, instead of fixing it.  Not to mention the steroid shot made my face blow up and get puffy--NOT GOOD.

The office I use combines both spine adjustments and massage to help the back to be both loose and straight.  They also offer an exercise regimen that is designed to help stabilize the core region, another important factor in keeping everything in place.  The massages really help to loosen up the muscles and allow the spine  to more easily move into place.  The exercises are for strengthening and stability, which helps keep everything where it should be.

In summation, if you suffer from sciatica, tight hamstrings/butt, or any other lower back ailments, try finding a Chiropractor--it might completely change your running experience!

Does anyone else suffer from sciatica?  Does anyone else have any good (or bad!) stories about Chiropractors?

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