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Common questions about chiropractic

Addressing common misconceptions and questions on chiropractic care.

Table of Contents

First chiropractic check-up

Why do I need to go through a check-up?

Everyone’s condition is different, and it is critical that we diagnose the severity of misalignments in your spine to develop the best care plan for your condition. 

Receiving chiropractic adjustments without being checked is not safe. Your safety is of utmost importance to us.

What is the process like?

Your check-up has two sessions. The first session will last around 40 minutes and comprises:

  1. An initial consultation with the Chiropractor to understand your history and pain points; and
  2. A series of comprehensive spinal tests.

The Chiropractor may require you to take spinal X-rays after the first session depending on your condition. We work with third-party off-site radiology partners for this.

The second session will last around 45 minutes and the Chiropractor will run through results of your tests and X-rays, and recommend if chiropractic care is suitable for your condition.

check-up-process

Why are X-rays necessary for chiropractic care?

X-rays are one of the best ways to visually understand and diagnose spinal misalignments. While our Chiropractors can detect misalignments during palpation, X-rays show the severity of degeneration or misalignment. 

This will allow our Chiropractors to accurately and safely understand your condition and the adjustments required to correct the issue.

In certain conditions (e.g. pregnancy, very young children) where X-rays are not advisable, our Chiropractors will utilise other tools to understand the degree of spinal misalignment.

Chiropractic adjustments

Are chiropractic adjustments safe?

Absolutely. The profession has been around for over 120 years, and we have been serving the community in Singapore for over a decade.

Chiropractic adjustments are only given after a detailed consultation and examination designed to determine the precise and most effective way for our Chiropractors to approach your health problems.

We ensure that our care is safe and effective by doing a comprehensive consultation and examination, often including advanced spinal imaging, before adjustments are given.

It is impossible to adjust you and care for you without a complete check-up to understand the unique state of your health.

Are chiropractic adjustments painful?

No, they should not hurt.

Adjustments to certain joints in the spine or extremities may feel slightly uncomfortable, but once the adjustment is performed, you should not feel pain. In fact, many enjoy being adjusted, and like the way the adjustment feels.

If it is your first time ever being adjusted, you may experience slight soreness or discomfort for 12 – 24 hours following the first adjustment. The adjustment helps restore the alignment of the spine, breaking up adhesions that had previously restricted the joint, and stretching tissues that have previously caused some of the pain and other symptoms.

Do chiropractors "crack" bones?

Chiropractors do not crack bones. That said, it is normal to hear a “popping” or “cracking” sound during an adjustment.

The popping sound is due to a change in pressure, as a joint moves in a specific way.  There are small pockets of air or bubbles that surround the joint. During a chiropractic adjustment, the tissues are stretched out, “popping” the air pocket, which then creates the cracking sound.

The sound associated with a chiropractic adjustment is not important; an effective adjustment can be delivered with no audible sound. Instead, we are more concerned with the degree and quality of movement that was achieved with the adjustment.

Motion is life. A flexible, stable, and well-aligned spine is key for your health.

Can I "crack" my own back and neck?

Absolutely not!

When you crack your neck and back, you are haphazardly manipulating and straining the muscles around your spine to forcefully cause the crack. The greatest risk with this is creating hypermobility of the joints, which could lead to increased pain, and predispose you to increased vulnerability at the joints.

Engaging a non-trained friend to help in the cracking process is even more risky an endeavour. When a non-trained person assists in cracking a friend’s back, they can exert a force that’s too hard, leading to muscle injury (such as a sprain). Stop that habit of asking your friend to stand or walk on your back to crack it!

Conversely, a registered professional, such as a Doctor of Chiropractic, or an Orthopaedic Doctor, can safely address the issues you are having. Prior to conducting a chiropractic adjustment, we do a comprehensive assessment of your medical history, and current issues (via a physical examination, and often imaging) to diagnose your condition, even before conducting an adjustment.

Can I go for chiropractic adjustments even after surgery?

Depending on the type of surgery you had undergone, you may or may not receive chiropractic adjustments as part of your treatment plans.

How many adjustments will I need?

To answer this question, we will first need to do a comprehensive check-up and examination with one of our Doctors of Chiropractic. Based on the damage done to your spine, as well as other complicating factors, we can then recommend whether 1) chiropractic care is suitable for you, and if so, 2) the proposed frequency and number of adjustments to achieve your goals.

It is important to stick to your chiropractor’s recommendations to achieve the optimal healing and results.

Click here to schedule your check-up today.

Chiropractic care

How many sessions will I need?

Everyone’s condition is different, and it is critical that we diagnose the severity of misalignments in your spine to develop the best care plan for your condition. 

Receiving chiropractic adjustments without being checked is not safe. Your safety is of utmost importance to us.

What if I don't see any results?

Chiropractic care is not an overnight solution and healing takes time. Chiropractic focuses on unlocking your body’s innate healing abilities through removing interference in your nervous system caused by spinal misalignments.

Give your body some time to heal. If you feel that your body symptoms are getting worse over the course of care, please flag this up to our Chiropractors so that they can have a consultation and re-assess if your care plan requires change.

As our practice member, if you do require more adjustments, we don’t charge additional once you’re under our care.

Are your chiropractors licensed?

All chiropractors are ensured by the Singapore Ministry of Manpower and the Ministry of Health to have valid and qualified degrees from an accredited chiropractic institution.

Doctors of Chiropractic (DC’s) are functional, holistic, wellness-oriented doctors who specialize in improving the health and integrity of the spine and nervous system. A DC is awarded after completion of a 4-year doctorate program, following a 4-year pre-requisite in basic sciences at university level.

Does chiropractic care treat slipped disc?

A “slipped disc” is a disc that may herniate (‘slip’, bulge) and press against a spinal nerve, due to injury, misuse, or degeneration. This trauma may be associated with pain and reduced mobility. In the majority of cases, the body resolves the swelling and absorbs (covers up) the deeper damage to the joint/disc mechanism.

No noticeable signs of damage occur until years later, and may first show up as a decrease in disc space (degeneration) and progress to osteoarthritis damage to the vertebrae.

If you are dealing with spinal misalignments damaging and weakening your spinal discs, then disc is actually an effect of a deeper problem, not the cause of your pain. Chiropractic care is focused on treating spinal misalignments and addressing the cause.

Is chiropractic care expensive?

To answer this question, it is first important to take a step back to understand your goals in the first place.

If you are looking to seek one-off, symptomatic relief, a chiropractic care programme may seem like a hefty investment.

However, if your goal is around improving your spinal health and general well-being, chiropractic care may even be less expensive as compared to other long-term treatment plans that involve medication, surgery, or intensive physical therapy. More importantly, the goal of chiropractic care is preventive in nature, i.e. to improve spinal motion, and in turn, the body’s physical functions. The eventual objective of chiropractic care is to prevent degeneration that eventually require more invasive forms of treatment.

Are chiropractors just trying to sell packages?

We’ll be honest – there are unfortunately several players in the market who have given the profession a bad name of “selling packages”, using a one-size-fits-all treatment regime for all patients, regardless of condition.

When choosing a chiropractor, it is therefore important to find one who does a comprehensive history taking and check-up, before recommending an appropriate treatment programme for a condition, or whether you are a suitable candidate for chiropractic care in the first place.

Why must there be a programme?

Your treatment programme is formulated based on your condition, the results from the various tests, and the Doctor of Chiropractic’s professional experience. The programme is necessary to correct the physiological misalignment in your body, and resolve (rather than just relief) the symptoms you are experiencing.

If you are experiencing pain, it is unlikely that it is a result of a problem that just happened overnight, but rather, more possibly due to an accumulation of bad habits over a course of time. It is therefore unrealistic that it can be easily resolved by one-off treatment.

While a single chiropractic adjustment is likely to give temporary relief, not following through a treatment programme will result in symptoms coming back, because the underlying problem as not been corrected. 

Exercise related

5-Bad-Habits-That-Cause-Low-Back-Pain

If I suffer from slipped disc, can I still run or do rope jumping as a form of exercise?

Not while the disc is symptomatic and it depends on how severe the disc issue is. It is important to have a thorough examination performed so we could specifically advise you on what exercises to avoid/discontinue and whether it’s appropriate to carefully resume when the issue is stabilized.

Alot of boxers / mma fighter start their training by working on their neck strength. any exercise to strengthen it?

Yes, there are ways to strengthen your neck muscles. However, before focusing on strength, you should make sure that you have full, pain-free range of motion because we want functional strength. After working on that range of motion, there are simple isometric exercises with a flex band you can do to start strengthening the neck muscles. There are several muscles in the neck area, so you want to make sure that you don’t overwork some and underwork others.

Are there any sports / exercises that can aggravate spinal problem?

Yes, there are! 

It always depends on where in the spine the problem is and what the underlying problem is. 

For example, tennis specifically involves a lot of stress to the shoulder, which connects to the neck and upper back area. Additionally, there’s a lot of cardio involved in tennis, big trunk twisting movements, and lots of sudden changes in directions–all of these can aggravate existing issues in the spine (as well as shoulder/wrist/knee/ankle etc.) or put you at risk for those injuries if things aren’t properly aligned. 

Bottom line: misalignments lead to changes in biomechanics/movements, and if we aren’t moving properly and increase the stress to different areas through sport/exercise (even sitting) it means joints are getting that wear unevenly and puts us at higher risk for injury/to aggravate an existing injury. 

If you have a specific sport/exercise and spine problem in mind, feel free to reach out to us and we’ll be able to more specifically answer your question!

Can I recover from flat neck just by doing stretching?

Yes, it is possible that you may get some improvement in the alignment by stretching regularly; but change is unlikely going to be significant or permanent if you don’t make other lifestyle changes. Also, in order to measure whether you’re making progress, you need to know what the starting point is, which is why it is very helpful to get a thorough examination from a licensed chiropractor or similar healthcare professional.

When will you use a heat / cold pack?

You can use whichever that helps reduce the pain. The typical rule of thumb is that if you’re going to be active (exercising, shopping, etc), use heat to open up the blood vessels and help warm up the muscle. If you’re going to be resting (post-workout, before bed, etc), use ice. 

Does push up help?

This depends on what you are specifically referring to. 

Can push ups help build upper body and chest strength? Yes–when done properly. Form and technique are always important, especially if you are new to that exercise. If not done correctly (i.e.: belly to floor = low back in hyperextension), it can aggravate the low back or other issues.

Symptomatic related

I notice that my neck is longer than usual, could it be the reason for my frequent neck pain?

Everyone’s body is different, which means our necks are different lengths. It is possible to have more or less bones in our spine than normal, but you would need x-rays to verify whether that’s really the case. There are many potential stresses that could be causing your neck pain, including any previous injuries/traumas. In order to find the underlying cause of the pain, you would need to see a healthcare provider (whether that’s a chiropractor or another professional) and have a thorough history taken and exam done.

What can be the cause if I have pain on my shoulder blade?

Many things can cause pain in or around the shoulder blade. It could be a muscle problem (many different muscles attach to the shoulder blade), it could be misalignment of the spine or shoulder bones, it could be referred pain from another organ or area of the body; it’s impossible to tell what the underlying cause of your pain is without the appropriate exam to diagnose the issue.

What is tmj pain disorder?

TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint–otherwise known as where your jaw opens and closes slightly in front of each ear. Just like the other issues people have asked about, many different things can cause dysfunction of this joint which can lead to pain (including dental work, misalignment in the jaw itself or in the upper cervical spine). If the problem is an alignment issue (which is common), that’s something that we can adjust and help correct as well! Please reach out to us on social media though if that didn’t answer the question you had in mind.

I still feel back and neck pain even when I tried to sit in a correct posture, is that normal?

Unfortunately, yes, that can be the case and that is a sign that the postural muscles are weak and underworked. This can be corrected by working on strengthening the core (which stabilizes the low back) and postural muscles.

How does muscle inflammation / spasm happen?

These are two separate problems. 

Muscle inflammation can be caused by: infection, injury, autoimmune conditions, and drug side effects. The 5 signs of inflammation are: redness, increased heat, swelling–which eventually leads to pain–which leads to loss of function. 

Muscle spasms/cramps occur when a muscle involuntary and forcibly contracts and cannot relax. They can be caused by: overuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle strain or simply holding a position for a prolonged period (like sitting in the same position all day)!

I suffer from a slipped disc, is chiropractic treatment still recommended?

Short answer: yes! 

Long answer: it does also depend on what other symptoms are presenting at the time if the disc is symptomatic. There is a lot of research that shows that chiropractic care is a very effective treatment method for disc issues (I know personally as I have disc issues myself); if you’re interested in some of that research, let us know and there’s a couple of articles we can e-mail to you!

If I'm born with slanted spine, can chiropractor help?

Alignment issues in our spine don’t develop until after we are born. So if you have a lean/tilt or curve (scoliosis) in the spine when looking from front or back, that’s due to all the stresses and traumas in your life up until now (even seemingly small things add up over time). But yes, chiropractors can help improve these alignment issues. Especially in the case of scoliosis, there are limitations in how much improvement can be achieved, but it is still important to keep things aligned as well as we can and moving as normally as possible.

Ergonomic related

How can I care for my spine and back if I sit on the floor when working from home?

Sitting on the floor to work–especially for the whole work day–is not a good idea. It puts a huge amount of stress through your low back and through the neck and shoulders. If the floor is the only place you can work, make sure you’re sitting on a cushion/pillow and you should also have a table that allows your lower back to be straight (so you’re not bending in the low back all day) and your shoulders and arms to be comfortable and relaxed as much as possible so they aren’t rounding/hunching forward. Also, you want the middle of your monitor to be above eye level. I do advise you to find a better place to work, if you can. If not, please reach out to us so I can get to know more about your set-up specifically to better tailor the advice to your situation.

Does my sleeping position affects our back and neck?

Yes, it can, especially if you sleep on your stomach; that is the worst sleeping position for your spine. For tips on how to help bring more comfort to your sleeping position for back and side sleepers, check out our social media, we have a great post about that!

Is there a way to validate whether different furniture are actually ergonomic?

Yes, there are ways to validate their claims. For more on that topic, I’m going to defer to a great blog post on the subject.

How do you choose the right desk set-up?

Again, the blog post can help with that; but our friends at TakeASeat.sg also have some helpful information with that: You can find it here. It’s also very important that you try out the furniture (chair, desk, etc.) before you take it home (if possible) to make sure you know how to use/modify it and that it will suit your needs. 

TakeASeat.sg has show rooms in Singapore and Malaysia that will walk you through what would suit your work and home space and how to make all of the adjustments; but for those of you in other countries, see if there’s a company in your area that does the same.

Do alternative remedies work?

Does massages help or may worsen my neck pain?

Honestly, it can do either; again, it depends on what the underlying problem is.

Typically, if it’s a soft tissue (muscle, ligament, tendon) problem, massage can be very helpful in relieving pain and helping to relax tight, stiff muscles. If it’s a bone alignment issue, massage can help temporarily, but the pain typically comes back in a day or two. For other issues–such as inflammation, disc pain, etc–massage can aggravate the problem and make the pain more intense.

Chiropractic VS ...

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy focuses on treatment to restore and maintain most of your mobility, function, and well-being. You are heavily involved in your own recovery as specific exercises are taught to be done at home to aid muscle recovery.

The key difference is that physiotherapy largely focuses on the area affected, and treatment is specific to that area, rather than a holistic approach to your health. Chiropractic focuses on the treatment of subluxation which affects your nervous system and causes pain.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

TCM is a branch of traditional medicine that is said to be based on more than thousands of years of Chinese medical practice. The approaches include acupuncture, herbal medicine, and tui na (推拿) among others.

One of the approaches known as tie da (铁打), or “bone setting” does appear to look similar to chiropractic adjustments. However, while the biomechanical adjustment may look similar when performed, the fundamental belief system and care approach are very different from chiropractic as the focus is not on the nervous system.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is focused on manipulation of soft tissues in the body which comprise the muscle, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments, and skin. Varying degrees of pressure and movement is utilized to relieve muscle tension.

The key difference is that massage therapy is focused on relieving stress in the soft tissues, rather than understanding if a spinal misalignment is causing recurring muscle stress along your neck and back.

Medication

Painkillers help to manage the symptoms of joint pain and swelling, and in cases of acute pain provide immediate, symptomatic relief. 

While painkillers effectively provide relief, they do not resolve the root cause of the problem. In fact, long term use of opiods may lead to dependence on these medications, and worse, addiction. Research has shown that there are long term physical effects of painkiller dependence, such as lowered immunity, gastrointestinal problems, impaired mental function, among others.

Chiropractic care is a drug-free approach which relieves pain through manual chiropractic adjustments complemented with exercises to increase joint mobility.  

Pain-Relief Patches

Pain-relief patches are transdermal analgesic (or painkillers) used to provide temporary relief of minor aches and pain.

For muscle aches caused by activity (e.g. sports, marathons) or improper lifting of heavy objects, these patches serve as a cost-effective approach to finding relief. However, these provide only a temporary relief that is not the long-term solution for recurring pain.

Chiropractic goes beyond providing temporary relief to diagnose your condition and working on correcting spinal misalignments.

Exercise

Exercises such as Yoga and Pilates are great as they incorporate stretches and exercises to strengthen your back and core muscles, which consequently help you hold a better posture. These exercises also increase joint mobility and range of motion. 

However, these exercises are unable to address and adjust spinal misalignments. Think about how brushing your teeth regularly is good dental hygiene, but is unable to straighten your teeth. 

We complement chiropractic adjustments with exercises to help strengthen muscles and ligaments that support the spine to better hold the adjustments.  

When to go for CHiropractic, TCM, physiotherapy or Massage?

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