Articles in Category: Chiropractic

Understanding Neck Pain

on Thursday, 03 March 2016. Posted in General Health, Chiropractic

Understanding Neck Pain

By Jakob van Vlijmen

M Chiro, DC


Many different injuries can literally be a pain in the neck. Neck pain is quite common and it’s estimated that over 60% of the population will have experienced neck pain at some point.


Because your neck is the mechanical connection of your body/spinal column to the skull/brain, it is quite sensitive and vulnerable to particular stresses, injuries, conditions, and infections that can cause you to feel neck pain and discomfort. The cervical spine is made up of 7 vertebrae. The first 2, C1 and C2, are highly specialized and are given unique names: atlas and axis, respectively. The C3 - C7 are more classic vertebrae, having a body, pedicles, laminae, spinous processes, and facet joints. Each vertebral body is separated by an intervertebral disc which acts as force dissipaters, transmitting weight bearing loads when upright and throughout movement of the head.


Certain injuries can result in neck pain and it is important to understand the characteristics of the pain to better understand what injuries and structures are involved in generating your neck pain.


Disc Bulges/Prolapse – Often characterised by sharp localised neck pain often associated with numbness and pins and needles shooting from your neck to a particular part of your arm/hand. It is often one sided though can progress to both limbs depending on the direction of the disc bulge onto the nerve or spinal cord.


Facet Joints – A localised sharp catchy sensation of pain, though a sprain of this joint is less often associated with a radiating sensation of pain and numbness/tingling to the limbs.


Muscle Spasm - Muscle spasm is often an accessory characteristic to injuries of both facet and disc pain. Though muscle pain can be a primary neck pain generator in itself also. Poor posture is often a primary generator of muscle mediated neck pain. Poor posture can change the load bearing capacity of the muscles that move and stabilise the movement of the neck/head. When your neck is in an awkward position for an extended period of time i.e. when you are reading in bed, sleeping on stiff pillows, sitting in front of a computer, carrying a shoulder bag — it can strain your neck and cause pain. Neck pain that results from poor posture tends to show up as more an achy sore/stiff sensation of pain.


Whiplash - Considered being the most common trauma to the neck, which involves a combination of the above primary pain generators. It is caused (without going into too much detail) by rapid uncontrolled movement of the neck commonly flexion/extension movement and also associated with other nonspecific signs such as a headache.


Other - More systemic causes of neck pain need to be ruled out and assessed by a health professional as they may require more specialised medical care also. This pain will generally be more constant in nature and pain is often associated with other non-specific signs such as fever, muscle wasting, nocturnal pain, changes in bowel/bladder habits and sometimes very intense headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, etc. Some of these conditions include Tumours (of the brain and spinal cord), Meningitis and other viral infections, Spinal Stenosis (a degenerative condition which narrows of the joint spaces/openings around the spinal cord and nerve roots), and autoimmune conditions such as Ankylosing Spondylitis.


General and Orthopaedic assessment needs to be performed by a qualified primary health practitioner to not only diagnose the cause of your neck pain but to also eliminate the possibility of any underlying serious conditions which may require immediate medical referral.


The level of research into conservative (non-surgical) treatment of mechanical pain in the cervical spine (including chiropractic) compared to medication is improving. There is growing body of work whereby recent studies suggest that conservative treatment is just as if not more effective as drug therapy in both short and long term time frames. The benefits of conservative (non-surgical) care, particularly chiropractic care focuses on precise interventions (cervical adjustments, mobilisations, soft tissue releases)  to the tissues that is irritated/damaged/dysfunctional thereby addressing the cause of the pain (i.e. the anatomical structure generating the sensation of pain), rather than just masking the symptom of the pain you feel.


As mentioned above postural overlay to neck pain is often a primary factor relating to the recurrent nature of the mechanical neck pain you may feel. As with any mechanical complaint early diagnosis and treatment optimises your ability to heal and addressing the underlying mechanism of injury (i.e. the quality of your movement or easing the aggravating load to the injured tissues), outcomes can be longer lasting.

What is DNS Rehab?

Written by Don Williams BSc, MChiro, ICSSD. on Wednesday, 23 September 2015. Posted in General Health, Chiropractic

What is DNS Rehab?

What is DNS Rehab?

By Don Williams

Many of our regular patients would know that Don has spent a considerable period of time studying and practicing in the Czech Republic. But many of you may not be specifically aware of what is done there.




Prague School of Rehabilitation has a long and proud history in the field of Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation. By good fortune, in the mid 1900s, Motol Hospital and the Prague School of rehabilitation were a hot spot for thought, research and development of rehabilitation, the names of Professors’ Vaclav Vojta, Karel Lewit, Vladimir Janda and Frantisek Vele should be essentially household names to anyone who specialises in treatment of Musculoskeletal conditions through manual methods. It is almost the exception to find a research paper that doesn’t mention at least one of these names.


Healthcare in Eastern Europe has been setup differently as a system than we experience in Australia and the Western world, and in some respects, their system has fostered and developed more collaborative work between disciplines. Bringing aspects from the disciplines of Neurology, Orthopaedics, Physiotherapy (which encompasses manipulation akin that many techniques used in Chiropractic), and medicine, DNS rehab is the new approach to rehabilitation which is being used by many practitioners around the world today.


Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS), is a multi-part qualification, encompassing 4 study level with examinations required to receive a qualification as a DNS Certified Practitioner. This generally takes practitioners a minimum of 4 years of courses and studies, as well as some trips to Prague to attain.


There are currently only 4 certified practitioners in Brisbane, Don Williams, at Institute of Sports and Spines, Hans Lindgren, at Alex Hills Chiropractic, Gaery Barbery, at BodyKey Chiropractic at Indooroopilly and Louise O’Connor at MovementConcepts Physiotherapy at Morningside.

Most of these practitioners have been studying DNS rehab since 2001 and most have undertaken multiple courses and trips to Prague, often in the order of 15-16 courses to improve their proficiency.


Much of DNS Rehab is based on the Vojta Principle. Between 1950 and 1970, Vaclav Vojta was looking for a treatment system for children with Cerebral Palsy. Ironically, under the umbrella of communism, the opportunity to have a facility with many children with this condition was easy due to them essentially being pushed out of society as being ineffective and unhelpful. Professor Vojta developed “reflex locomotion”. Essentially, the basis of this is that within our neuromotor system, we have motor patterns that are pre-programmed and inherent within us all, by using specific reflex points throughout the body, these motor patterns can be incited and developed to enhance the movement patterns, not of just palsy sufferers, but of many people with motor pattern disorders.

Professor Vojta’s observations and assessments allow earlier assessment, diagnosis and treatment of Cerebral Palsies and Motor Co-ordination disorders. In fact, this assessment and treatment is best started early, within the first 6 months of life.



Professor Vojta treating a premature baby.


Developmental Kinesiology is essentially the development of the motor patterns in the baby through early childhood, and when these patterns are considered, many postural issues and musculoskeletal aches and pains, find their basis in poor developmental patterns.


What is most fascinating about Developmental Kinesiology and the DNS approach is that many of the treatment options are based on global patterns and functional reactivation, rather than in isolation of one body part. The approach is always aimed at improving the entire system and postural program, rather than just improving that segment.


Don uses the DNS approach in an integrated manner is patient management. It is a major component of his thought process particularly with his management Chronic pain cases and post -operative rehabilitation.



                  Karel Lewit                                               Frantisek Vele                                             Pavel Kolar

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)

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