Doctors thoughts on Chiropractic and the LA Marathon

By Michael Dorausch, D.C.

Runners from around the country and world have been arriving at LAX airport during the past few days. During my daily runs this week I have been noticing more unfamiliar faces passing me on the beach and I figure most are folks here for Sundays event. I assume they are in town for the 21st Los Angeles Marathon and I am excited for all who are participating.

Dr. Mike DorauschI get all kinds of ideas that come into my head while running and today I was noticing many similarities between marathon training and chiropractic care. To some people that run the information below may seem self evident but to others it will shed new light. I put together a list of some of the things I find important and related them to training based chiropractic care.

Goal Setting
When training for a marathon, many marathoners will suggest it is important to have a goal. Some professionals even divide goals into three categories with those categories being acceptable goals, challenging goals, and ultimate goals. When beginning a chiropractic care program, it is equally important to have a goal. Similarly, goals can be divided into the same 3 categories although doctors of chiropractic typically use different terms. An acceptable goal could be getting out of pain. A challenging goal may require more frequent and consistent office attendance, attention to daily activities such as work habits, sleep habits, and such. An ultimate goal may involve one receiving chiropractic care on a longer term continual basis, adopting a healthier lifestyle, changes in ones attitude toward health, decreased dependance on pharmaceuticals, and changes in diet and nutrition.

Making the Commitment
In both marathon training and chiropractic care, It is equally important to make a commitment. Marathon experts recommend a three or four month training commitment. Similarly, chiropractic experts recommend a three or four month period when seeking corrective chiropractic care. Why? Stevensons chiropractic principle #6 answers this best… “there is no process that does not require time.” Specifically, physiological improvement of the body requires time. The principle applies equally to both marathon training and chiropractic care.

Stick with it
You cannot expect good marathon results when randomly running. You want to build endurance, strength, maybe speed, and recovery. Each of these is going to require time, persistence and commitment. Again, we are talking about physiological improvement and physiology simply takes time to improve. In a similar fashion, You cannot expect good chiropractic results with random chiropractic care. Get with the program and stick to the plan. In both marathon training and chiropractic care the terms patience and consistency are key.

Relax
I remember when I first began running again regularly. I used to clench my fists so hard I would leave fingernail marks in my palms. One of the keys to a good run, in my experience, is to relax. Tension works against us because it causes stiffness which then demands more work from our muscles. The more relaxed you are, the more efficiently and longer you will be able to run. This same rule applies when getting adjusted. You may feel you don’t have the time but relaxation before an adjustment is critical. In most cases, we are talking less than a minute and your adjustment will be much improved. Most chiropractors are happy to have you relax on an adjusting table while they see other patients.

Measure Performance
A coach of mine taught me that when you measure results, results improve. When you measure results and make them public, they tend to improve even more. In training for a marathon it is important to keep some sort of log. When it comes to running, I use a Garmin Forerunner. The Forerunner is a digital GPS device that records all your training data. You can connect it to your computer and analyze/store data which includes charts for your speed, pace, or elevation. Chiropractors measure physiological improvement with leg checks, palpation, xrays (pre/post), emg scans, thermal scanning, digital imaging, postural analysis, and other methods. All these can be recorded to charts/computers and reviewed when necessary.

Wear Good Shoes
This is more critical in running than in day to day activities but the rule can be applied either way. Make sure you have good shoes and make sure you replace them on a regular basis. As a chiropractor I see many shoes, and I tell people every day that it is time for new shoes. For running, find out what shoes are good for you. Go to a local running store and speak to some experts. If you can afford it, buy several pairs of running shoes. I currently have 5 different pair of sauconys that I rotate through. My running experience has shown that if I wear several pairs (even of the same brand and style) I am less likely to have a problem adapting from an old pair to a new pair. I rotate out the oldest shoes and replace them with new ones. This reduces what I call “shoe shock” and allows me to keep running as usual. Good shoes are important regardless if you run or not. Always wear good shoes.

Some key things to remember when training and receiving chiropractic care…. Establish a frequency, follow a day-to-day routine, recovery is vital, learn to listen to your body, remember that you will improve only as long as you maintain a moderate training/adjustive program, consistency is important for physiological improvement to take place.

One of the best lessons I have experienced in running that can be applied to chiropractic care and life in general is when you are hitting the high miles and your body or mind is beginning to struggle, think about all the positive things in your life, and continue moving forward without hesitation.


Dr. Michael Dorausch is a chiropractor and avid runner. He has helped many continue to keep running when they thought they may have to quit. He lives in Venice Beach, California and runs a 6 to 8 mile pier to pier beach course 4-5 times per week. He is also a chiropractic patient and contributes his injury free 3 year history to the 3x per week chiropractic care program he follows.

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