Articles in Category: Chiropractic

What’s the difference between a Chiropractor, a Physiotherapist, and an Osteopath?

Written by Don Williams BSc, MChiro, ICSSD. on Friday, 26 May 2017. Posted in Newsletters, General Health, Ergonomics, Chiropractic

What’s the difference between a Chiropractor, a Physiotherapist, and an Osteopath?

By Don Williams
B.Sc., M.Chiro., ICSSD., PG Dip. NMS Rehabilitation Cert DNS. Memb: FICS, CEA

One of the more common questions we get from patients is what is the difference between a Chiropractor, a Physiotherapist, or an Osteopath?

On the surface this would appear to be a simple question however the number of questions and confusion support that it evidentially is not. On the basis of the evolution of these practices it is quite common for Chiropractors to deal just with manipulation and joints, where by a Physiotherapist tends to deal more with stretching and muscles, and an Osteopath tends to do soft tissue work manipulation similar to a Chiropractor. However the evolution of these professions has blurred the boundaries considerably, it is not uncommon to see a Physiotherapist that does a lot of manipulation and it is not uncommon to see a Chiropractor that does lots of soft tissue work and stretches.

So where do we draw the lines?
I generally believe that anytime someone has an injury it is always a joint and a muscle involved. When you think about it, every joint in the body is crossed by at least one muscle, and every muscle in the body crosses at least one joint. So as a result, anytime you injure a muscle it will affect the joint and every time you injure a joint it will affect the muscle so we must deal with both areas simultaneously.

The team at Institute of Sports and Spines do a range of different treatment interventions that would commonly be more regarded as Physiotherapy techniques. The confusion is that these techniques while being used often by Physiotherapist are not specifically Physiotherapy techniques. So when we look at rehabilitation from a knee injury, sporting injury, a muscle tear, or a strain people predominately think this is a Physiotherapy only activity, however this makes up a large proportion of the injuries that the team see at Institute of Sports and Spines.

Generally the management of different injuries is time based surrounding milestones that are inherit in recovery of the tissue in question. What this essentially means is that a strain of a muscle will improve or repair faster than a tear of a muscle, ligament injuries take longer to repair than muscle injuries, and tendon issues can be extremely stubborn if you don’t address the underlying concern.

Although our treatment strategies with the Chiropractic team at Institute of Sports and Spines may confuse our patients as to the background of why we’re using a particular technique and whether it is Chiropractic or Physiotherapy we certainly deal with a wider range of complaints then most people would realise.

When we look at athlete injury management particularly, we would always use a combination of soft tissue work in conjunction with manipulation or adjustments when and if indicated followed by corrective exercises to address the underlying movement patterns. This tends to be the model we use with the general population as well; adjustments to relieve the irritation, soft tissue to take out tension, and exercises to re-educate the muscles and postural system.

I think that the only reason that Chiropractic, Physiotherapy, and Osteopathy don’t amalgamate into one profession is due more to egos and understanding in the public rather than the actual differences between the professions. I would think that if we sub-specialised into the different areas that we treat this would probably be a clearer distinction than whether it was a Chiropractic, Physiotherapy, or Osteopath problem.

For many conditions any of the three professions or modalities could get a great result and interestingly some people seem to respond more to a particular person or style of intervention rather than a particular profession. This doesn’t stop people from having the impression that all Physiotherapists ‘are stupid’, or all Chiropractors ‘hurt you’, or all Osteopath’s ‘don’t do anything’ these opinions are often based on hearsay and not always in reality. However there are certain cases of people who may have had an interaction with someone previously that has not gotten a good result and unfortunately this often leads them to label all of that profession as ineffective.

I hope this has cleared up some of your thoughts or questions in regards to Chiropractors, Physiotherapists, and Osteopaths. If you have any further questions, please contact us at Institute of Sports and Spines and we would be glad to help.

What Posture Are You?

on Friday, 26 May 2017. Posted in Newsletters, General Health, Ergonomics, Chiropractic

What Posture Are You?

I am sure many of us have been told that a poor posture can cause back and neck pain over time. A lot of people then try to improve their posture and one of the concepts I preach a lot about is how your spine will adapt overtime. 


In basic terms, your body tries to keep your eyes on the horizon and your spine as close to the midline as possible. So, if an imbalance is developed somewhere in your body, your spine will try and correct it. 


For example, your hips are tilted more forward than normal. If left alone, the body will fall to the front and tip over. Therefore, to prevent this from happening, the spine lowers the centre of gravity of the body by increasing the curve of the midback, now leaving us with a slouched/hunchback. Finally, counterbalance the midback changes, the head moves forward and away from the body creating a protruding head carriage.   


Here are the few most common types of posture observed:




  • The head is displaced forward and away from the centre of the body. 
  • The upper back is rounded increasing the curve of the midback.
  • In some cases, vertebral fractures due to osteoporosis or a spinal deformity called Scheurmann's disease (more commonly seen in young males) can create a noticeable hump.



  • The low back curve is overextended with the belly protruding forward.
  • The head is displaced backwards behind the centre of the body.
  • Shoulders may also be pulled back too much causing tightness around the neck. 
  • Over straightening of the knees causing constant hamstring tightness.


Scoliosis 1Scoliosis 2 

  • An abnormal sideways curve of the spine. 
  • Shoulder height is uneven (Left higher than right or vice versa).
  • A protruding hump on one side when bending forward.
  • Uneven pelvic height (Left higher than right or vice versa) may contribute to low back pain in prolonged standing.
  • Scoliosis can be a congenital problem, but it may also be caused by improper function of the muscles holding the spine.


The moral of the story is look deeper than the one obvious imbalance to make a longer lasting change. Understand what kind of posture you are adapting first instead of attacking only where the pain is. If you do that, your problem most likely will never be fixed permanently, because it is all connected.  


Share this with a friend who needs to improve their posture!


By Iris Tan

B.App.Sc (Chiropractic) M.Clin.Chiropractic. 

Memb: CA, Gonstead (Australia)

Iris picture new contrast



What's all the hype about Magnesium and Methylation?

Written by Don Williams BSc, MChiro, ICSSD. on Thursday, 20 October 2016. Posted in General Health, Nutrition and Recipes, Chiropractic

What's all the hype about Magnesium and Methylation?

Health World is one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of supplements and vitamins to the Australian health care market. They supply common brands like Inner Health Plus along with a range of practitioner only products, like the Metagenics range available at Institute of Sports and Spines.


Health World held a conference last weekend specifically on the topics of Methylation and its impact on our health. Interestingly, on the list of countries that search for Methylation and related topics, Australia is 6th on the list. It is really quite a hot topic. Some of our team attended the conference on the weekend to update their knowledge in this area. Simply put, Methylation is involved in some of the metabolic pathways in the body and irregularities in this process can dramatically affect the health status of the sufferer.


There was loads of interesting information however, there were a couple of major points which evolved which are worthy of more attention. First B group vitamins are extremely important for both groups and secondly, that research is not showing specifically that any one form of Folic acid, folate or its derivatives are specifically more effective for either group.


Interestingly though, more data was presented on the vital role of magnesium in energy cycles and metabolism and health in general.


So why is Magnesium important?

Magnesium is important for muscular aches, pain, spasms and cramping, is involved in the productions of cellular energy and plays an important role in ironically calming our system while also providing energy for activity.


As an ion or electrolyte it is used for improving the absorption of water from our gut and for improving the function of our muscles and nerves.


Magnesium ions Mg2+ influence the equilibrium or balance of many of the cellular reactions throughout our body. By providing a plentiful supply of magnesium in our diets and supplementation we can increase the availability of magnesium ions for these cellular processes increasing the body’s ability to manufacture ATP (one of the basic components for energy production).


Magnesium and the inflammatory response

Experiments in rats have shown that a few days of magnesium ion deficiency induces a clinical inflammatory response. By increasing the availability of Magnesium to the cells decreased the inflammation. Magnesium acts to balance natural calcium concentration buffering the inflammatory reaction. Although it is quite evident that magnesium supplementation has a positive impact on immune stress and reducing inflammatory processes, the exact e-mechanism is still being investigated.


The mental mineral

Magnesium regulates neuron excitability and membrane fluidity. Some supporters argue that it is THE MOST IMPORTANT MICRONUTRIENT in relation to nerve and mental function. Deficiency symptoms of magnesium in the nervous system are relatively non-specific however they have been reported to include a huge range of mental disorders, including loss of concentration, disorientation, abstract thinking and memory failure, headaches, irritability, hyper excitability (mania), hyper emotionality, ‘plum-stone throat’, insomnia, behavioural disturbances, depression, seizures, and psychosis. Many of these disorders are commonly associated with stress and the research suggests that a Magnesium deficiency interferes with the cellular pathways that our body uses to combat stress, resulting in an exaggerated stress response. This buffering or fortifying capacity is at the heart of most of the positive impacts that Magnesium is suggested to have on the body.


So why use a Magnesium supplement?

If you want to improve athletic performance, combat muscle tightness and fatigue, cramps and stiffness, improve cardiovascular health, reduce migraine frequency and severity, increase your mental alertness, reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and improve the quality of your sleep, a high quality Magnesium supplementation may be worth considering. While it may not be a magic elixir, there is certainly substantial research and evidence suggesting a vital role of Magnesium in our bodies and the probability is that a 1 month trial has a far greater likelihood of promoting a positive outcome rather than no response. Allergies and reactions to magnesium supplements are very rare with the only thing to worry about being loose bowels or diarrhoea from too higher dose.


Are all Magnesium supplements the same?

The simple answer is no. The simplest form of Magnesium is Magnesium oxide, it is a large molecule which is poorly absorbed into the gut, at around 9 parts per million. It is also very cheap. Most over the counter Magnesium tablet supplements are oxides. In the middle of the road for absorption are Magnesium sulphates, citrates and carbonates, which absorb at 22-34 parts per million. These are a little more expensive and a little more effective.  At the top of the list are Magnesium diglycinates. These absorb at around 80 parts per million. What this means is that for a product which might cost you $40 (as opposed to the $10 magnesium oxide) it absorbs at 8 times the rate, which means that for what you can actually access and use in the body costs you half as much for the better quality supplement.


All of the Magnesium supplements we stock at Institute of Sports and Spines are high quality diglycinate quality Magnesium.


If you are looking at trying Magnesium, talk to us on your next visit for advice on what we have available.