Is chiropractic care really painful? A chiropractor answers 7 of your burning questions

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If you’re seeking relief from back pain or neckache , chiropractic care might be an option that often pops up. Or you might be unnerved by the loud cracking or popping sounds often associated with chiropractic adjustments.

So what is chiropractic treatment?

It’s primarily seen as a non-medical alternative treatment, with specialists trained to treat and diagnose conditions related to the musculoskeletal system, including pain relief of the back, neck, muscles, and joints, and improving function.

We speak to Dr. Matt Kan, Senior Consultant and CEO of Chiropractic First, who shares his thoughts on WFH postures , whether kids can benefit from treatment, and more.

Working from bed or couch can lead to posture issues but it's so comfy. Are there any ways to help avoid back pain in this instance?

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Dr Matt Kan (MK): To reduce strain on your legs, back and neck, consider using an ergonomic foot platform. The footrest helps you sit in a good working position at your desk.

Use old books to elevate the height of your monitor or use a laptop extender such that the height of your monitor is above eye level. This will force you to sit up tall and prevent you from slouching deeper.

Ergonomic chairs and standing desks do in fact help us maintain a better posture but only to a certain extent. With the use of standing desks, we might still be practising bad posture due to various reasons like hunching, elevated wrists, and maintaining tense shoulders due to the height of the computer.

While they do help a little with our posture, they don’t necessarily correct it. Your body may still ache and your condition may worsen and that’s why you need to get chiropractic adjustments as they will help to reduce stress on the spine and helps with long-term healthy posture.

I use an expensive standing desk and ergonomic chair. Does that help with my posture?

MK: Are you still hunching? This is natural when your monitor is set below eye level – even while you’re standing.

To solve this, make sure your desk and chair are attuned to the correct adjustments – set your monitor above eye level and alleviate your laptop with an extender so that you will naturally sit up tall which refrains you from slouching.

To reduce tension in the shoulders and keep them relaxed, try placing your keyboard and mouse on the lap when seated. Correct the heights of your table and chair to prevent your legs from dangling and to relieve the shoulders from tension.

What about regular yoga? It helps to keep my body feeling balanced and aligned. Shouldn't that be enough?

PHOTO: Chiropractic First

MK: Yoga poses like a downward-facing dog may help relieve a headache while stretching the neck from side to side can improve your flexibility and reduce the pain. However, be cautioned that without professional supervision, stretching or yoga may aggravate existing problems if it’s done incorrectly or too forcefully.

ALSO READ: 10 chiropractors in Singapore to manage pain in the back, neck and more

When should an individual consider seeing a chiropractor?

MK: It is never too early to start with chiropractic. Newborns have received spinal adjustments especially after difficult or traumatic births.

Uncorrected birth trauma leads to pressure on the spine or neck which will impact spinal growth and development. This ignorance will lead the newborn away from optimal health resulting in health issues.

Adopting chiropractic as the way of life includes regular checks and visits to ensure functional independence and tolerance for daily activities. Putting a halt in chiropractic adjustments will lead to a build-up of stress on the spine and nervous system.

Spine and nerve stress will continue to build up as before, but it won’t be reduced or eliminated. If the stress is not relieved, your body and overall health will suffer. Therefore, regular maintenance is highly recommended to help you maintain your spinal health at its optimal all the time.

Chiropractic care looks painful. Is it really?

MK: If you’ve heard the popping and cracking from a chiropractic adjustment, it’s easy to assume that it is a sign of pain. However, it’s quite the opposite. These sounds occur when the joints are opened up and the fluid between the joints creates a release of gas.

Do children need chiropractic care? Is there a minimum age for children?

PHOTO: Chiropractic First

MK: Significant spinal trauma can occur as early as during birth. We recommend getting your child checked for subluxation as early as possible and we even have patients that bring their newborns for adjustments at a few weeks old.

Getting adjusted from an early age can minimize or even eliminate any effect that bumps and falls (and even the birthing process) can have on our spinal joints. Much of the degeneration we see later in life is a result of past trauma.

As the infant grows, learning to hold up the head, sit, crawl and walk are all activities that affect spinal alignment and are important times to have a child checked by a Doctor of Chiropractic. Chiropractic care is extremely safe for infants and children.

Doctors use very gentle adjustments and pediatrics techniques which involve very light fingertip pressure to correct spinal misalignments.

ALSO READ: 5 easy and affordable ways to reduce neck and back pain

How can chiropractic care help with overall health and in overcoming the stresses of the pandemic?

PHOTO: Chiropractic First

MK: Chiropractic care works with the spine and improves the flow in the central nervous system (CNS), which can improve your overall body functions.

Regular chiropractic adjustments can help reduce the stresses on the vertebrae and realigning the spine helps with reducing compression on the nerves. It also helps in improving sleep quality hence boosting your concentration, mood, and performance!

The pandemic has kept many of us stuck in our own homes which increases the chances of us falling into a more sedentary lifestyle. With such a lifestyle comes repercussions like body aches and discomfort.

These issues can be addressed with chiropractic adjustments which can help to release tension in our bodies.

This article was first published in The Singapore Women's Weekly.