Active Release Techniques® For Pain Relief
As a runner, you’re taught from the beginning that pain is inevitable with your sport. At some point during your training, you will experience aches and pains that are directly related to your training. The deep burn in your lungs early in your training, the struggle of fighting through an intense speed workout, the extreme leg fatigue after finishing a marathon and the strenuous battle with a lingering injury are all examples of pain associated with this sport. Yes, pain is to be expected, but should it be tolerated?
The more I talk with runners, the more surprised I have become by the notion that pain during a run is to be anticipated and accepted as the norm. Some pain is unavoidable, but lingering pain due to an injury can and should be dealt with. There is no reason you should have to tolerate hip, calf, foot or even shoulder pain every time you run.
Pain and Dysfunction
Pain is a symptom of dysfunction. Dysfunction can be a result of muscular imbalance, poor mechanics or overuse, among others. Treatment of the dysfunction is vital to the resolution of the pain. There are many approaches for treatment of dysfunction: Active Release Techniques ®, Graston Technique ®, stretching, strengthening, gait analysis, to name a few. For this post, I’m going to be focusing on the benefits of Active Release Techniques (A.R.T.). To learn more about how injuries cause pain and dysfunction, read my post about common running injuries.
What is Active Release Techniques?
Active Release Techniques is a massage based technique that utilizes precise pressure, placed with nothing but a provider’s hands, and specific movements to isolate individual muscles. This technique was developed to treat muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerve entrapments through the removal of adhesions and scar tissue. Headaches, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, shin splints and runner’s knee are just a few of the common conditions that can be treated with Active Release Techniques.
By breaking up the adhesions, we increase blood flow and correct the dysfunctional firing pattern within the tissue. This will allow for an increase in strength, range of motion and a decrease in pain.
Do I Have To Stop Running?
The question every runner has but rarely asks is, “Do I have to stop running?” Understandably, most people fear that the answer will be “Yes”.
In most cases, I encourage people to continue their training. If the issue is significant, I will recommend rest for concern of the condition worsening. But for most typical running issues, I like the athlete to continue running. This allows for continued blood flow to the area and increases oxygenation of the tissue. It will also allow for any muscles that may have become inhibited (“shut off”) to activate (“turn on”) and regain strength. In other words, sometimes movement can retrain the way your muscles work together.
Don’t Tolerate Pain
A typical treatment plan for A.R.T. includes a total of 4-6 visits on a twice-a-week basis. Occasionally a patient needs less or more, depending on the issue and how long it has been there. While pain is to be expected during a training plan, it doesn’t have to be tolerated.
Pain is your body telling you that something is wrong and Active Release Techniques could be the answer.Follow me @Mpls_Chiro on Twitter for daily running, health and wellness tips.