Active Release Techniques® For Pain Relief associated with Running

Active Release Techniques® For Pain Relief associated with Running


In the last few weeks, Southern California has been home to a few “high profile” running events. The city of Los Angeles was the host for the U.S. 2016 Olympic Trials for both the Men and Women’s Marathon that will be held in Rio later this year. In addition, the Los Angeles Marathon was held this past Sunday and hosted over 27,000 runners from all over the world as they ran 26.2 miles from Dodger Stadium to the Santa Monica Pier. The popularity of the sport of running continues to grow due to the individual health benefits and the minimal cost associated with becoming a runner.

Every runner, regardless of experience, is aware that pain is an “inevitable part” of being involved in this sport. As a beginner, your body adjusts to the new form of exercise, from the deep burn in your lungs to the mental and physical struggle of pushing through a long run workout. The extreme fatigue and soreness in your legs after finishing a long run and the potential battle with a lingering injury are all typical examples of the types of pain and discomfort associated with this popular sport. So, how do you tolerate this and get past it?

The more I work with runners, the more I understand that pain is a part, and accepted, as the norm in the sport. However, there is no reason that you should tolerate any type of pain when you run. There is some pain that is unavoidable, but foot, leg, hip, and even shoulder pain should not be tolerated when you run.

As most everyone who has been involved in a sport or physical activity knows, pain is a symptom of some sort of dysfunction occurring in the body. It could be caused by poor mechanics, not enough rest or even a muscular imbalance. At OC Ultimate Wellness, our team understands that the treatment of this dysfunction is vital to the resolution of the pain.

In my education, training and experience, I am aware of many different approaches for the treatment of “dysfunction”. Active Release Techniques that include stretching, strengthening and gait analysis are a few that we offer at our practice. I will focus on the benefits of Active Release Techniques (A.R.T.) for the remainder of this article post.

I am often asked, “What are Active Release Techniques” and what do the typically treat? Active Release Techniques are a massage based treatment that utilizes pressure that is placed precisely with the provider’s hands and focuses on specific types of therapeutic movements to isolate individual muscles and muscle groups. This therapy technique was developed to treat muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerve entrapments through the removal of any adhesions and scar tissue. Shin splints, runner’s knee, plantar fasciitis, sciatica and even headaches are just a few of the more common conditions that can be easily treated with the Active Release Technique therapies.

When I am able to break up the adhesion, it will immediately increase blood flow and correct the dysfunctional pattern occurring within the tissue. This allows for an increase in strength, range of motion and most importantly, the decrease in pain the patient is experiencing.

I am often asked by runners, and other active patients, if they have to stop running, or their activity during treatment? Understandably, most everyone fears the answer will be “yes”. However, in most all cases, I encourage my patients to continue their training. However, if the issue is significant, I will recommend “rest” for concern of the condition to worsen. However, as it relates to this article, most all of the typical running issues do not prohibit continued training. It actually allows for continued blood flow to the affected area and increases the oxygenation of the tissues and assists in the repair while helping retrain muscles to work and regain strength.

What I always tell my patients is, “do not tolerate the pain”. A typical Active Release Treatment includes a total of 4-6 visits on a twice a week basis. Occasionally, a patient may need more or less, depending on the severity and length of their particular issue. I know that we all expect a certain level of pain during our training, however, please remember that it should not be tolerated as the long term damage could put you out of a sport or activity that you truly enjoy.

While training, keep in mind that “pain is telling your body something is wrong” and “Active Release Techniques” are the answer. Please call us for an appointment, 714-891-7870.