NEW YORK - Jhenelle Andrade-McLeary wasn't going to allow back pain to stop her from running her first New York City Marathon.
After running with no major health issue for nearly a decade, she suddenly began experiencing debilitating pain.
"I couldn't get past mile one without a sharp pain in my back," she said. "I physically had to stop and turn around and figure out a way to get home."
She knew she needed help and feared the problem could be something severe. That's when she made an appointment with Dr. Jonathan Kirschner, a physiatrist at the Hospital for Special Surgery.
"Jhenelle has a common issue called Lower Crossed Syndrome," Dr. Kirschner said. "She had an increased curve in her back."
Andrade-McLeary was relieved to find out that her condition would not require surgery. Dr. Kirschner put her on a new exercise regime, which included therapy sessions. She also changed her running shoes to a pair with a thicker cushion to help absorb the impact of running. The goal was to strengthen her abs and back muscles to help flatten the curve in her back.
"Within two weeks, I was actually back to running, and I could go past mile one," Jhenelle said. "Within a month, I was back to where I felt back to normal again."
She says the experience taught her a valuable lesson.
"As a runner, you have to listen to your body," she said. "You have to listen to the signals."