Articles in Category: Ergonomics

The Forward Head Posture

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

The Forward Head Posture

The Forward Head Posture

In the January newsletter, we discussed the different types of common postures observed in people and how ideally the spine likes to be in an as neutral position as possible (not leaning forward too far and not overextending backwards). 


This month, we will start fixing those with a Kyphotic posture (the slouching and neck protrusion). 


First we start by correcting the top of the spine; the neck.


Kyphosis 1 

To minimize the stress and strains on the neck, the cervical spine ideally has to be in a vertical line with the body's centre of gravity. This position is balanced off by the front neck muscles (the sternocleidomastoid) and the back neck muscles (levator scapulae and trapezius). Like the wires holding a bridge.


This abnormal posture can cause headaches, neck pain, sometimes jaw pain and rounded shoulders. Most people also often feel pain/tightness starting from the neck radiating up to the base of the skull. In a prolonged period, an excessive load on the joint and muscles are imposed which can then degenerate the cervical spine leading to irritation of the nerves.  


In Forward Head Posture, the SCM shortens and the middle fibres of trapezius and levator increases in length and weakness. Most of the time the commonly prescribed treatment for FHP is to stretch the levator and trapezius (which is good short term) but it doesn't give you a long term solution as the SCM is still shortened and the levator and middle trapezius are in a lengthened position. 


What needs to be done is to relax the SCM and bring posterior cervical muscles to a correct length. To do so, the best exercise to begin with is the chin tuck exercise.  


Rolled Towel Chin Tucks:

YouTube Link:

Chin Tucks 


A FHP not only increases load on the cervical spine, it also leads to a rounded shoulder which enhances the flexion of the mid back (the slouch).


Being in this position long term can affect your lung expansion capabilities, digestion rate, shoulder impingement and also cause loss of height. 


Kyphosis 2


Correcting your mid back will help your neck feel better in the long period. If you find that doing the chin tuck exercise does not make you feel any better at all, it probably means you will have to start fixing the thoracic spine first. 


The seated thoracic extension exercise is one of our clinics favourite. All you need is a chair and it can be practiced anywhere. Try doing these 2 exercises 10-20 reps throughout the day and feel the difference it makes on your neck and back!


Seated Thoracic Stretch:

YouTube Link:

Seated Thoracic 1 Seated Thoracic 2 Seated Thoracic 3


By Iris Tan

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

Memb: CA, Gonstead (Australia)

Iris picture new contrast 


1.Lee, K.-J., Han, H.-Y., Cheon, S.-H., Park, S.-H., & Yong, M.-(2015). The effect of forward head posture on muscle activity during neck protraction and retraction. Journal of Physical Therapy Science27(3), 977–979.

2.Dalkilinç, (2015). The benefits of good posture - Murat DalkilinçYouTube. Retrieved 8 March 2017, from

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 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.