We Got Featured!

We did so well in our Toys For Treatment campaign last December we got featured in The Australian Chiropractor, a national monthly magazine from the Australian Chiropractors’ Association.

We had to convert a PDF into a photo to upload here… hopefully you can read it!

In total, we collected 210 toys and $574 in donations to the Salvation Army Mooroolbark’s Christmas Appeal.

Congratulations to everyone involved and thank you once again to all our patients who went out of their way to get a gift for a child who may get nothing this year if not for their kindness!

Going To The Gym & You Haven’t Seen Your Chiropractor?

Active people can experience many benefits from Chiropractic care because treatment isn’t purely focused on individuals who suffer pain or specific complaints. Not only does Chiropractic management assist injury recovery, it can also help improve sporting and athletic performance such as improve flexibility, reaction times, injury healing, strength and more.

The majority of recreational gym participants complain of pain from time to time and it can scare you from exercising as you don’t know if it will make your problem worse. This is where Chiropractic and a practitioner trained in Sports techniques can assist you. Chiropractors are musculoskeletal focused practitioners that can assess injury and general function and therefore provide specific advice to get your body moving with greater efficiency and less discomfort. Sports Chiropractic techniques are aimed at preventing injuries as well as prescribing appropriate exercises that can be performed in conjunction with your current programs.

What types of individuals do we consult with on a regular basis?

  • Recreational athletes and regular gym goers
  • Weekend warriors (i.e local footballers, netballers, basketballers and more)
  • Individuals who value a preventative and maintenance lifestyle
  • People experiencing specific injuries and complaints requiring rehabilitation

If you’ve never visited a Chiropractor you may be wondering what types of treatment you can experience. It’s important to recognise that there are various different forms of Chiropractic. While these differences are very subtle it can have a great impact on expectations and management results. The majority of Chiropractors practice Diversified manual adjusting while others may prefer Gonstead and more gentle forms of therapy such as Activator methods. Our practitioners are proficient in all forms of manual adjusting as well as soft tissue therapy, exercise and lifestyle advice.

So if you’re an elite or amateur athlete or someone who just enjoys being active it’s important to consult with a Chiropractor who can provide advice as well as ensuring you’re engaging in the most appropriate activities.

This was a guest post by Dr James Allen, Sports Chiropractor, Mill Park, 24/10/15

It’s Game Time… Soccer and Chiropractic

An interesting piece of research was published in the Chiropractic and Manual Therapies journal early this year.

It explored how chiropractic treatment affected the flexibilities, kicking speeds and perceptions of soccer players.

The study was conducted in Durban, South Africa, and recruited 40 soccer players from several regional premier league teams. The players were evaluated for spinal dysfunction and then divided into groups for chiropractic treatment to address those dysfunctions. One group was given placebo (fake) treatment to act as the control/comparison group. This allowed the researchers to compare the effectiveness of chiropractic treatment and rule out the possibility of other factors contributing to the results of the study.

Before and after treatment, the researchers measured three things in the soccer players:

  • Their low-back flexibilities, using a digital inclinometer (something we use in our clinic as well).
  • Their kicking speeds, using a speed radar.
  • Their perceptions of whether their kicking speeds were different, using a simple questionnaire.

Remarkably, the players who received actual chiropractic treatment during the study had significant increases in their flexibilities and kicking speeds, and could also perceive the changes in their kicking speeds. The group that received placebo treatment did not produce such results.

What I find interesting is that all 40 players were asymptomatic. This means they did not actually feel any back pain or dysfunction. However, evaluation of their spine discovered dysfunctions that were limiting their performance on the field. This allowed the researchers to address the problems, leading to their increased performances.

Not many studies are done on asymptomatic (i.e. pain-free) subjects. More are done on chiropractic and its effects on relieving pain. That is what is so exciting about this study – it shows there is so much more to chiropractic than just getting us out of pain!

I hope you have enjoyed this research summary. If you would like to read the full text of the study, you can find it online by clicking here.

I wish you the best in health,

Dr Roi Cheng (Chiropractor), 23/4/15

Move Better, Rest Better: Part 3 – Sleeping

Sleeping well.

A good night’s rest is very important for our health. We need about seven to eight hours of sleep for optimum daytime function, proper regulation of hormones and good cardiovascular health. Moreover, a healthy sleep environment, including a good sleep ‘set-up’, can increase quality of sleep during those seven to eight hours. Here are my three tips for setting up your bed for the best night’s rest:

  • Medium-firm mattresses are arguably best for supporting your spine. Of course, everyone’s spine is different, but research from Spain suggests that medium-firm mattresses work best, especially when dealing with low-back pain.
  • Pillow height is very important! For side sleepers in particular, pillow height must be enough to fill the gap between your shoulders and your head. A quick way to discover if your pillow is high enough is to find out whether you are rolling forward or backwards at the shoulders when you lie down at night. If you roll forwards, your pillow is probably too low. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to rush out and buy a new one! Try folding up some towels instead and popping them under your pillow. Rolling backwards is a lot less common. If you find you are rolling back, however, your pillow is probably too high and you might have to consider getting a smaller pillow.
  • Make sure you sleep in a dark, cool and quiet room. If you can, put away your electronic devices an hour or two before bedtime. Bright screens tend to reduce the amount of melatonin (sleep hormone) being produced by your body and can hinder the natural sleep process.

So, for those who missed it or just wanted a recap: that was the third and final topic I covered during our first health workshop, ‘Move Better, Rest Better’. I hope you found it informative and simple enough to apply. Look out for more workshops at Croydon Chiropractic Centre in the near future – we hope to see you at one of them!

Yours in health,

Dr Roi Cheng.

Written by Dr Roi Cheng (Chiropractor), 7/8/14

References:

Kovacs FM, Abraira V, Peña A, et al. Effect of firmness of mattress on chronic non-specific low-back pain: randomised, double-blind, controlled, multicentre trial. Lancet. 2003;362(9396) 1599-604.

What Makes You Sleep? Available from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/whatmakes.html

Move Better, Rest Better: Part 2 – Sitting

Sitting right.

Let me start this point by saying it outright: Sitting for long periods isn’t healthy! A lot of current research shows that sitting for extended periods can be as detrimental to your health as smoking! So we should try to sit as little as we can. How about getting a standing desk? Or having a walking meeting? There are many ways we can sit less, but sometimes it’s just not possible, so we have to ensure that our seat is set up right as well, supporting our spine.

I tend to follow three simple rules for setting up my seat:

  • Make sure your hips are higher than your knees. Try popping some books or towels under your bottom if you can’t adjust the height of your chair. This keeps your spine up straighter and reduces stress on your lower back.
  • Don’t rely on your backrest. If your seat is set up at the right height, you shouldn’t feel like you have to lean on the backrest for support. Having to rely on a backrest is also a sign that you may have been sitting for too long and need to get up and move about!
  • Watch the position of your head. Is it sitting above your shoulders? If your head is in front of your shoulders, it can add to the strain on the joints and muscles in the back of your neck. An easy way to keep your head in the right position is to imagine an invisible string attached to the top of your head. Now imagine someone pulling that string towards the ceiling. This should straighten out your spine, keep your head above your shoulders and tuck your chin in!

Written by Dr Roi Cheng (Chiropractor), 7/8/14

Move Better, Rest Better: Part 1 – Movement

Movement is important for spinal health and general well-being.

According to the World Health Organization, one in three adults are too inactive. This can increase chances of heart disease and diabetes, as well as heighten risk of falls. It can also decrease bone, muscle and joint strength, and energy levels.

As human beings we are designed to move; this is what our aided our survival and allowed us to thrive in our environment. However, modern society has limited the amount of movement we do.

Why?

There are a few reasons. Firstly, we like convenience. After all, would you rather go to the grocery store or hunt down your food? Secondly, the type of work we do (i.e. sitting at a desk for extended periods) has changed since the days where humans spent their time fashioning tools and, again, hunting. Thirdly, our lifestyle has also become increasingly inactive (for example, we might get home from work only to sit down and watch TV).

Our ancestors were much healthier than we are today. This is because of the food they ate, and also the amount of movement they did.

If we look back at our ancestors, we can summarise their movements in three main types:

  • Slow-paced movements, such as moving around the campsite, were a constant in everyday life.
  • Quick movements, such as fleeing from predators or hunting, were also common.
  • Heavy objects were lifted now and then.

I believe that if we also tried to follow these three simple points, we would get less back pain and feel more energetic, while decreasing risk of disease.

We should also focus on performing functional movements in our exercise routines. What are these, you ask? Functional movements are actions we are built to do in nature – movements such as jumping, running, climbing, pushing and lifting. Movements that involve our entire body, not just one part of it.

Functional movements are very important for developing one of our senses: ‘proprioception’. In simple terms, ‘proprioception’ is the body’s ability to know where each joint is at any given moment. It allows us to coordinate movements smoothly and gives us a sense of balance, helping to prevent injury.

Written by Dr Roi Cheng (Chiropractor), 7/8/14

References:

Stamatakis E, et al. Screen-based entertainment time, all-cause mortality, and cardiovascular events: Population-based study with ongoing mortality and hospital events follow-up. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2011;57:292.

Slosberg M. Effects of altered afferent articular input on sensation, proprioception,muscle tone and sympathetic reflex responses. J Manip Physiol Ther1988; 11:400-408.

Spinal Health Week 2014 – We’ve Got Your Back

What’s special about the 19th to the 24th of May, 2014?

Is it just another week of damp autumn weather and chilly mornings? A week of going to work and taking care of the little ones at home, juggling a million chores during the day and then collapsing into bed at night?

Not this week!

The 19th to the 24th of May 2014 is Spinal Health Week – an annual event promoting the importance of the spine to your health.

Here at Croydon Chiropractic Centre, we are embracing this event. We understand that a healthier spine means a healthier life – and vice versa!

So, during Spinal Health Week we are offering a 50 per cent discount off initial consultations*.

Back pain is becoming increasingly common in Australian society. Approximately 80 per cent of the population experience disabling low back pain in their lives. A quarter of a million Australians are being forced into early retirement because of back pain and arthritis.

Chiropractic is important to maintaining spinal health – but exercise, a good diet and a positive outlook are equally as important.

I feel that the role of the chiropractor is to not only help patients with back pain, but to educate as well – on methods of prevention and how to live the best life possible. To do this, I am holding a number of workshops that are free to attend and will cover a variety of topics – including ‘pain’, ‘exercise’, ‘wellness’ and many more.

The first of these workshops – titled ‘Move Better, Rest Better’ – will be held in Spinal Health Week, in line with the theme of theme of this national event.

Do you have trouble getting comfortable in bed at night? Do you constantly fidget at your desk at work?

This talk will cover some ways to set up your home and workplace so that you get the best night’s rest and can be as productive as possible at your job. It will also cover the importance of ‘functional movements’ in our exercise routines, why we hurt ourselves sometimes, and what we need to do to prevent that from happening.

Spinal Health Week should also be a time of fun – a celebration of chiropractic and its role in health. We will be running some competitions in our clinic in the lead up to – and during – Spinal Health Week. Don’t worry; these competitions are for all ages, inviting participation from both the young and the young at heart! Great prizes are up for grabs so come along and have a go!

The first of these workshops – titled ‘Move Better, Rest Better’ – will be held in Spinal Health Week, in line with the theme of theme of this national event.

For more information on Spinal Health Week as a national event, visit spinalhealthweek.com.au.

To follow what we’re doing here at Croydon Chiropractic Centre, please keep an eye on our Facebook page.

Live better: We’ve got your back.

Yours in health,
Dr Roi Cheng

*Conditions apply: Each initial consultation is a half-hour session involving spinal and postural examination, and discussion of problems and questions. This does not include treatment or X-rays. Offer is only valid from 19.05.14-24.05.14.

References:

Briggs A.M., Buchbinder R. (2009). Back pain: a National Health Priority Area in Australia? Medical Journal of Australia, 190 (9): 499-502.

Care about your Core

Have you ever sneezed and felt your back ‘go out’?

Do you find it difficult to stand back up after bending forward? Does your back ‘click’ when you do normal movements, or do you feel a sharp ‘twinge’ in your back from time to time?

These are all signs of weak core muscles. So that begs the question: what are core muscles? And, before we even get into that… Where is your core??

Well, the most general definition of your core is your body – minus your arms and legs. Your core muscles are the muscles that keep you stable and upright, and help you to bend, twist and flex. There are many core muscles in the human body. But the ones I’d like to focus on are the deep muscles; the ones that stabilise your spine. Why focus on these muscles? Because research shows that these muscles become ineffective, or ‘switch off’, when we have back injuries or pains. If not used, our spines will weaken and this starts the whole cycle of back injury again.

Names and functions of the deep core muscles:

There are three main deep core muscles: the Transverse Abdominis (TA), Multifidus (MF) and pelvic floor muscles (PF). Sound like latin to you? Well that’s because it is – apart from the pelvic floor muscles, of course! So I’ll refer to them as TA, MF and PF from now on to ease things a little.

The TA is a muscle that wraps around your waist, very much like a corset. It compresses the abdomen and internal organs, keeping everything tight and stabilising the spine.

The MF is a series of very small muscles that attach to the spinal column and help to keep the spine stable when moving your core. Research shows that it is the first muscle to activate before any movement is carried out. That means that just thinking about grabbing an apple, for example, will cause activation of the MF – even before your shoulder or arms muscles move!

The PF muscles are essentially the group of muscles that support your pelvic organs like a sling. It helps us to control our bowel and bladder, and works together with the other deep core muscles in providing core stability.

Getting it up and running again:

As mentioned before, studies indicate that back pain can cause these core muscles to become inactive and weak. Disuse can lead to further back pain.

If you have had back pain before, chances are that your core muscles will either be inactive or have some form of weakness or imbalance.

Here’s a simple activity you can do now to test your core muscle strength. Imagine that there is an invisible string running from your belly button to your spine. Now pull on this string to draw your belly button in towards your spine. Can you hold this position and still breathe and talk normally? How long can you hold it for?

Croydon Chiropractic Centre will soon be offering functional examinations that will assess your core strength. We can then tailor a program to help you regain your core function. Speak to one of our chiropractors about it if you would like more information. Until then, stay healthy and happy!

Written by Dr Roi Cheng (Chiropractor), 9/2/14

References:

Hodges PW, Richardson CA. 1996. Inefficient muscular stabilization of the lumbar spine associated with low back pain: a motor control evaluation of transversus abdominis. Spine, 21 (22), 2640-2650.

Hides JA, Stokes MJ, Saide MJGA, Jull GA, Cooper DH. 1994. Evidence of lumbar multifidus muscle wasting ipsilateral to symptoms in patients with acute/subacute low back pain. Spine, 19 (2), 165-172.

Van Dieen JH, Cholewicki J, Radebold A. 2003. Trunk muscle recruitment patterns in patients with low back pain enhance the stability of the lumbar spine. Spine, 28 (8), 834-841.

Toys for Treatment 2013

‘Tis truly the season for giving!

Last Christmas, Croydon Chiropractic Centre’s generous patients brought our annual Toys for Treatmentcharity to life for its 23rd year.

November and December saw an invasion of gifts under the clinic Christmas tree, as patients dropped off toys for local children in need.

On Friday, December 6 – our Toys for Treatment day – the Christmas spirit continued to flourish with patients exchanging toys for treatments. Our waiting room was overflowing with trucks, teddy bears, basketballs and Barbie dolls – to name a few. There was hardly any space for the rest of us!

A few wonderful people donated money to go towards purchasing food and other basic necessities for struggling families in the area.

On December 13, toys and cash donations were collected by Major Stephen Black of the Salvation Army and distributed as part of their annual Christmas Appeal.

In total, we raised 157 toys and $240 – an outstanding success for everyone involved.

Croydon Chiropractic Centre owner, Dr Robert Clugston, says it has been “another rewarding year” for the charity.

“I don’t see it as donating ‘just a toy’ – or money – at Christmas. It’s giving a moment of happiness to families, where happiness can be all too rare.”

We would like to extend a huge thank you to all our terrific patients at Croydon Chiropractic Centre for bringing Toys for Treatment to life once more. Because of your generosity, a bit of joy and hope was given to those who needed some extra support during the holiday season.

Written by Dr Roi Cheng (Chiropractor), 14/1/14

How’s your Posture Making you Feel?

We all know that our state of mind can affect our postures.

When was the last time you saw someone who felt depressed or powerless and they adopted a slouched posture with their head hanging low? Or when was the last time you saw someone win a competition? They probably stood tall with pride; head held high (maybe with their arms raised to the sky and jumping about too!) This shows that our minds can change our postures. However, what’s more interesting is that research has recently shown that our postures can also change our minds!

A study performed by Carney et al. in Psychological Science (2010) has shown the link between posture and the hormones in our body that affect our emotions and thinking.

First, let us discuss what good posture is. Good posture is characterized by standing tall, shoulders back and head held high. This is also known as an “expansive”, “open” or “powerful” posture. On the contrary, slouching, shoulders rolling forward and the head drooping forward characterize bad posture. These “closed” and “contractive” postures not only cause our muscles and joints to work extra hard but this study shows that it also has a physiological and psychological effect on us!>

In the study, half of the participants were told to adopt closed, contractive postures for 10 minutes, and the other half were told to adopt open, expansive postures, for the same length of time. After that, psychological tests were given to participants and hormonal changes were measured. The results showed that when these postures are simulated, it causes hormonal changes in the body that dampens our mood, decreases our levels of stress tolerance and decreases our risk tolerance.

In simple terms, bad postures cause us to feel stressed, unhappy and nervous. The reverse is also true. Good postures make us feel happy, less stressed and more assertive! Think about this the next time you come in for your adjustment. You might just leave feeling a bit happier, a bit less stressed and a bit more powerful!

Written by Dr Roi Cheng (Chiropractor), 17/8/13

References:

Carney D, Cuddy AJC, Yap A. 2010. Power posing: Brief nonverbal displays affect neuroendocrine levels and risk tolerance. Psychological Science; 21: 1363-1368.