Chiropractors are best known for manual manipulations of the spine and neck joints to cure back and neck injuries. However, most chiropractors treat the extremities as well. They concentrate on applying pressure to the bones and joints, characterised by clicks and crunches.
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Lower-back pain, neck stiffness, shoulder soreness, iliotibial band syndrome and sacroiliac joint problems. Experienced chiropractors can treat many other running injuries, too; some can mould or prescribe orthoses. They also can carry out pre-season checks to identify, treat and strengthen areas with potential for injury.
When to go
At the first sign of pain or extended soreness in muscles or joints. Many runners try to ride out their injuries, which complicates treatment. Knowing when to make an appointment takes a certain amount of body awareness.
What to expect
A first visit will include a complete examination to learn why you have become injured. Treatment can involve electrical stimulation, ultrasound, contrasting heat and ice packs and manual manipulation of the joints, spine and soft tissues. Many chiropractors work in conjunction with other specialists such as sports masseurs and physiotherapists to provide complete treatment for runners.
While on call at the Veterans World Championships in Gateshead, chiropractor Alyson Wreford treated a sprinter who could not run due to pain on the inside of her ankle. Wreford identified that the problem in fact lay with muscular damage in the base of the foot which had caused the patient to adjust her running style.
Wreyford manipulated the muscles around the runner’s heel and then used ultrasound to break up scar tissue. This had an instant effect, and the patient ran so freely in her 200m heat the next day, that she comfortably made her way to the final.
Cost of treatment
Treatment is occasionally available on the NHS, but most people who visit chiropractors pay between £25 and £45 for a consultation, and then £18-£35 per session. Many health insurance programmes now pay for chiropractic treatment.
The British Chiropractic Association; 0118-950 5950; e-mail email@example.com; www.chiropractic-uk.co.uk, or the British Chiropractic Sports Council; 01845 522242; www.chirosport.org