Is your spine slowing down your running?

photoIf back or hip pain is hindering your running performance and fitness goals then here are some facts to help put a spring back in your step writes Brighton chiropractor Amy Pease. Staying fit helps to prevent aches and pains, however various factors come in to play when pounding the pavements that could put you more at risk of injury. Pain in the low back or hips can arise from inflamed muscles, ligaments, nerves, discs or spinal joints. Injuries can range from mild muscle strains to more serious conditions such as a disc herniation; a chiropractor will be able to tell you the cause of any discomfort with an examination.

Injuries occur because of underlying dysfunction

When you run, 2-3 times your own body weight is transferred from your feet into your ankles, knees, hips, pelvis and spine every time your feet strike the ground. This process should not be painful when repeated regularly providing you have a good running posture and healthy function in your joints and muscles. However underlying muscle imbalances and stiff or unstable joints could eventually cause problems; this may not be noticeable until you increase your mileage or training frequency. For more information on two common muscle imbalances below.

3 Top Running Tips…

  1. Build up your mileage slowly – this gives your muscles, ligaments and joints time to adapt and build endurance to the increased workload, reducing your chances of injury.
  2. Strengthen your hips and core – weakness in these areas are often associated with a poor running posture and back pain. Strengthening these areas will help to stabilise your back and pelvis protecting your spine. The chiropractors and physiotherapists at our clinic can give personal advice on what exercises you should be doing. Alternatively Pilates or yoga may be useful.
  3. Get your shoes fitted by a professional – unstable arches or over-pronation when running often need rebalancing with a suitable trainer and/or a foot orthotic (a specialised insole). Trained staff at a running store should be able to advise you on choosing the right shoe. Additionally at Sundial we fit Superfeet orthotics.

If you think the topics raised in this article may apply to you, give us a call to make an appointment.

Weak hip abductors, unstable pelvis
Weak hip abductors, unstable pelvis


When you think about it, running is simply an uninterrupted series of jumps from one leg to the other. The hip abductors are an important group of muscles that stabilise the pelvis when standing on one leg.  So when one or more of the hip abductors are weak (usually the Gluteus Medius) the pelvis will drop on one side. This drop places increased forces through your low back and pelvis often causing stiffness or discomfort.  A recent study on 300 people found that people with low back pain had significantly weaker hip abductor muscles than those without. It is also common for the hip abductors to weaken after an ankle sprain on that side.



Weak abdominals, tight hip flexors
Weak abdominals, tight hip flexors


Weak abdominal muscles allow the pelvis to tilt forward; this overloads the joints in your low back often causing stiffness or discomfort. To compensate for this weakness your hip flexors will work harder. Interestingly the main hip flexor (Iliopsoas) connects to your spine and pelvis, and can be the root cause of low back pain when aggravated. Your deep abdominals (obliques and transverse abdominus) along with your back muscles work together like a brace to protect your spine when performing bending or twisting movements, learning how to control these muscles is essential to a healthy back.

Amy Pease

Free Spine Check for Kids on Friday 21st February 2014

Kids get back pain tooSundial Clinics, Brighton are supporting Rockinghorse with a new free spine check for children. On Friday 21st February 2014 Sundial will be carrying out free spinal check ups to check for poor posture and other causes of back pain as well as joint and muscle problems. Parents will be invited to make a donation to support the Rockinghorse Children’s Charity, which aims to improve the lives of sick children throughout Sussex.

Kids spine check includes:-

-Posture check
-Spine check
-Exercises to improve posture

Sundial chiropractor Matthew Bennett says

”Sundial Clinics have been a long term supporter of Rockinghorse and we look forward to raising money to support their excellent work for children in Sussex. Many children suffer from back pain and other aches and pains sometimes put down to growing pains. We can identify and help these problems.”

Kids posture smBack pain in children is more widespread than first thought. Researchers at Swansea University report a large increase in the number of children receiving treatment for back and neck pain. Research done by the British Chiropractic Association has found similar trends. Indeed as far back as 2005, 45% of children had suffered some kind of back pain by the time they were aged 11.

Richard Hollis, of Sundial Kemp Town is all too aware of this problem.

“As a chiropractor, I talk to a lot of parents who are concerned about their children’s posture and the health of their backs. Kids seem to need to carry so much more to school, do less physical exercise during the school week and then sit at home in the evening.” says Richard

As well as a posture check and spinal examination the Sundial chiropractors and physiotherapists will be giving exercises and helpful tips to keep children’s spines fit and healthy. Getting more active and tackling poor posture can help prevent back, neck and shoulder problems.
Straighten Up UK for kids is a simple, three minute posture care programme from the British Chiropractic Association, designed to help children feel and look their best. Straighten Up consists of just three simple exercises which are intended to be completed on a daily basis to become a part of a daily routine, just like brushing our teeth. Easy to learn and do, the sequence of exercises consists of precise, slow stretches, each with a specific purpose.

Analiese Doctrove at Rockinghorse Children’s Charity, added:

“This is an opportunity for parents to get their child’s spine and posture checked and to support Rockinghorse at the same time. The experts at Sundial can give plenty of tips and advice to help prevent aches and pains starting in the first place. By promoting an active lifestyle as well as balance, strength and flexibility in the spine, the risk of back problems in children can be reduced.”

To book an appointment call Sundial Queens Road or Sundial Kemp Town.

Here are some photos of the day.

Rockinghorse Kids Check 1

Rockinghorse Kids Check003 Rockinghorse Kids Check 2

The 7 R’s – Brighton Marathon Training Tips

Jewel runs Brighton Marathon
Jewel runs Brighton Marathon

The Brighton Marathon is the highlight of our sporting calendar. We have supported Brighton runners and their charities for many years but we have noticed that many people are not getting the support and advice they need to complete the marathon injury free. One in five people who enter the marathon will not complete it because of injury. We aim to make sure you are not one of them!

Pre-Training/Training Tips

Before you begin marathon training, you should be able to run for at least 30 minutes without stopping. Distance is not important right now. You just need to get your body used to running.
Combinations of runs/walks are great to use during pre-training because they ease your body into the exercise and minimize the chance of experiencing a running injury. Follow a set schedule or rota of training leading up to the event, so that you can set yourself small goals to work towards on a weekly basis.

Recovery Tips

Take recovery days equally as serious as your running days.
You should not run every day as your body needs to rest between runs, so it can recover from one run to the next, getting stronger between each run.
Use your non-running days to rehabilitate and to refuel with the right foods.  Ice any soreness, particularly in your knees or shins, four times per day for 15-20 minutes.  Stretch all the muscle groups in your legs, spine and upper body as you use them all!

Injury prevention

Never run through an injury, get it checked out by a professional!  Most of us are aware to use the RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) principle if we sustain an acute injury such as an ankle sprain or shin splints but there are other, less acute pains to be aware of, that may turn from a niggle into a strain.
Wear the correct footwear.  Your trainers should be no more than 6 months old or have been subjected to 500 miles of running.  Older shoes lose shock absorbing ability and increase the risk of injury. Check the soles of your trainers for abnormal wear as this could indicate a biomechanical problem elsewhere.  When choosing new running shoes go to a running shop staffed by experienced runners who can advise you on the correct shoes for your foot and running style.

The 7 R’s for marathon training

Run for 30 minutes before starting specific training
Rota – set up a schedule of training with goals
Rest is important because your body builds muscle, strength and stamina in this recovery phase
Refuel – improve your diet with our video program to get the right building blocks for recovery
Rehabilitate – stretch all over and ice any injury
Replace worn out running shoes
Runners MOT – this free check up is available to all Brighton Marathon runners – don’t let a niggle turn into a pain
Our physios and chiropractors support Brighton marathon runners with the offer of our Runners MOT at either of our Brighton clinics.  So if you have an injury or just a niggle, call and get it checked out!