Hospital for Special Surgery helps runner get back on her feet

ByJohn M. Antalek WABC logo
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Overcoming back pain to run first NYC Marathon
Ryan Field reports on one woman's journey to run the marathon

NEW YORK (WABC) -- 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."