Articles in Category: General Health

Bedding Myths

Written by Don Williams BSc, MChiro, ICSSD. on Monday, 21 January 2019. Posted in Newsletters, General Health, Ergonomics, Chiropractic

Bedding Myths

At this time of year, we find lots of people are thinking about new beds. It might be something to do with New Year's resolutions. For whatever reason, a new bed could be a good idea if your old bed is getting on in years.

I thought I might cover some of the myths and 'marketing hype' that we see in the industry.

Firstly, do I need a new bed?

How old is your current bed? Most modern beds will last 10 years. In fact, almost all new beds have a 10 year warranty. Usually, once the bed is getting over 15 years, or it has big furrows or stains, it is time to get a new one. 

How do I know if my bed is causing my back/neck pain?

Try sleeping in a spare bed. Are you better? Then go back to your bed. Is your back/neck sore again? We often find that patients start to question their own bed when they go on holidays and their back pain goes away. The bed could be the issue; however, it could also be a variance in the activities that you do in your normal life. Our tip, use this as an excuse for a weekend away. 

Non-Flip Mattresses

There is a tendency to see a lot of non-flip mattresses now. While I acknowledge that better quality materials and manufacturing can mean better mattresses, simple physics dictates that you only have one surface to wear out. So a one-sided mattress will last less time. It is cheaper to manufacture a non-flip mattress and marketing tells us it saves your back because you don't need to flip it. Our experience is the mattress will not last as long. Our suggestion... Always buy a flip-able mattress for the longest mattress life.

Pillow Tops

All the rage at present! A pillow top feels luxurious; however, this would be the greatest source of complaints about mattresses. The pillow top will generally wear out before the support characteristics of the mattress (furrows and ridges) and it seems this is very difficult to rectify or address through a warranty claim. The biggest issue with a pillow top is that if the bed is too soft, it is very difficult to make it firmer. The best solution is to buy a mattress without a pillow top and if it is too firm, then buy a great overlay. We normally suggest a gel infused memory foam overlay as they are cool, comfortable and when they wear out, it is simple to throw it away and get a new one.

'Latex is Hot'

Generally this is not the case. Good quality latex beds are core drilled and are a natural fibre. They breathe well and conform well to the body, meaning generally no pressure points. 

At Institute of Sports and Spines we stock and sell high quality memory foam overlays, latex mattresses and both memory foam and latex pillows.

If you think you need a new mattress, pillow or overlay, talk to us and we can recommend and let you trial them at the clinic to identify what is the best solution for you.


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

on Thursday, 03 March 2016. Posted in General Health

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)

By Jakob van Vlijmen

M Chiro, DC


Most of us have been troubled by a tingling sensation in our hands when we wake up, usually it’s caused by lying awkwardly and can be easily fixed by shaking the hand. However when you have carpal tunnel, you'll be plagued by the tingling much more frequently during all sort of activities. The tingling sensation can even be accompanied with loss of strength in the hands making it tremendously difficult to hold objects.


De Carpal Tunnel is situated on the inside of the wrist where the hand transitions into the forearm. The tunnel is made up of 8 carpal bones in a U shape. On top of which the fascial band is transversely strung across. Through this tunnel multiple arteries, tendons and a single nerve run into the hand.  


In CTS this nerve has become compressed because the space in the tunnel has diminished. Due to this compression the blood supply to the nerve is compromised impairing normal function. There are many different things that can cause the space to be diminished such as the following:

Ø  Overuse of the wrist

Ø  Broken carpal bones

Ø  Hormonal changes such as pregnancy or menopause

Ø  Fluid retention

Ø  Osteoarthritis

Ø  Rheumatoid Arthritis


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms are comparable to those of a ''sleeping foot'' which is also caused by a compressed nerve. The most common symptoms are:

Ø  Pain, tingling or a numbness in the hand

Ø  Being woken at night by these tingling sensations, which are then relieved by shaking the hand

Ø  Loss of strength in the hand

Ø  Morning stiffness and clumsiness of the hands

Ø  Use of the hands usually increases the symptoms

Ø  Pain in the neck, shoulder, elbows, forearm or wrist.


The nerve that eventually travels through the carpal tunnel starts off in the neck and runs through the shoulder, upper arm, elbow, and fore arm in to the hand. It is possible for the nerve to be compressed at multiple levels. Because of a possible compression higher up in the body, the nerve function is diminished after which becomes more susceptible to injury further down the track. So a relatively small compression at the Carpal Tunnel might very quickly give the fore mentioned symptoms.


The Chiropractor will therefore need to assess the whole length of the nerve to make sure it is not compromised at any other levels. This way the root of the problem will be tackled and recovery can be swift and complete.



Bad posture can lead to a compressed nerve. Together with the chiropractor you can address possible postural faults and diminish the change of CTS.

Case Study: Low Back Disc Complaint

on Wednesday, 06 March 2019. Posted in Newsletters, General Health, Ergonomics, Chiropractic

Case Study: Low Back Disc Complaint

A 39 year old female presented to our clinic complaining of severe low back pain with left leg referral down into the toes. The problem had started ten days previously for no apparent reason; however, it may have been related to a lifting incident. The patient had presented to the hospital for assessment. She was given pain killers and sent her home. She presented two days later to her GP who once again gave her a prescription for pain killers and sent her home.

On presentation at our clinic she was unable to stand on the toes on the left leg. Presentations of leg referral with weakness or loss of ability to stand on the toes or standing on the heels are always a concern to practitioners. “ Hard neuro signs” can indicate significant compression on nerve roots that can create long standing complications if not addressed readily. Further examination revealed a loss of heel reflex and a straight leg raise of 25 degrees on the left hand side. Additionally there was loss of sensation in parts of the foot and lower leg on the left hand side.

The patient was referred for an MRI which showed a significant disc bulge at L5/S1 on the left hand side, compressing the S1 nerve root. Due to the loss of reflexes and muscle weakness, treatment was initiated with the requirement that significant progress needed to be made within a week or otherwise urgent referral for a neurosurgical consultation was required.

Due to lack of progress she was referred to a neurosurgeon who performed a micro discectomy. The patient presented to our clinic 1 week post-operatively for rehabilitation.

We progressed through a range of decompression exercises, re-strengthening and postural re-training exercises to help her return to normal and fortify the system to protect against future injury.

For these types of cases, patients return to work within 4-6 weeks for office work or 6-12 weeks for manual workers. Full resolution is reached within 12 months.

In this instance the patient had a very good outcome and returned to normal work and activities with no long standing disabilities or ramifications.

This type of case highlights the importance of doing affective neurological and orthopaedic testing to identify correctly what is happening. This appropriate imaging and management to ensure that serious problems are not missed and they are cared for in the most appropriate manner.

We have unfortunately seen other cases similar to this that have not been managed well that have ended up with permanent disability as a result of miss-management.

If you have a significant low back and leg referral complaint, it is always advisable to have this analysed affectively by your trusted health care practitioner.