Author: rob

Is It Safe to Crack my Own Back or Neck?

I’m guessing it can happen a little like this…

Firstly, you spend a couple of hours working on the laptop or at a desk, sitting in a set position or maybe, you were driving for a long distance and now you find yourself feeling a little stiff and achy. So, what do you do? You try to crack our own back or neck for some instant relief and that satisfying popping sound!

At the Woden Chiropractic, we advise against self-adjusting or cracking your own neck or back.

Often, people ask about cracking their own backs or necks, and if it is safe or even helpful, to do this on a regular basis.

Chiropractors adjust your back or neck to treat areas of the spine that are restricted or stuck. These areas need to be released and move so they regain their normal function.

When you crack our own spine, the joints that actually ‘crack’ or release, are the ones above or below the restricted or stuck joint. These joints typically are already moving too much as a way of compensating for the stuck ones that are above and below them.

The ‘cracking or popping’ sound that you hear with an adjustment is the fluid being moved within the synovial joint from an area of high pressure to an area with a different level of pressure.

By releasing the pressure in the joints above and below the restricted one, you may experience temporary relief from discomfort but, hours later, the tension will start to build up again. If you continue to release the same joints over and over again you run the risk of damaging those joints along with the tendons and ligaments surrounding them. This can cause them to become weak and unstable. You are also doing nothing to improve the restricted joint movement which is what may be causing the discomfort you are feeling in the first place.

The main aim of the adjustments given by your chiropractor is to ensure the optimum function of the entire neuromusculoskeletal (nerves, muscles, and joints) system.

If you or someone you know cracks their own back or neck a lot, they may benefit from having chiropractic care.

Are you suffering from ‘Tech Neck’?

In decades past we use to sit hunched over our books studying and reading.  Now though, with our increased dependence on smartphones, tablets and laptop computers, we are spending countless hours each day texting, researching and reading.  We do this with our devices on our laps with our heads bent forward.  While we may be achieving a lot more, it is taking a tremendous toll on our bodies.

Constantly looking down at a screen, promotes a hunched mid back and as a result, a reverse curve in our neck region.  This stress, over time, can cause pain in the neck, back, arms and hands. All the muscles that are overworked and overstretched over a period of time, start to stay that way.  These changes affect our posture and leave us vulnerable to pain and injury.

The damage we can cause may not be limited to the muscles but may also affect the shape of our spine.

Good news is there are things we can do to reduce some of the stress we place on our bodies due to technology.

5 tips to help alleviate tech neck and hunch back:

  • Get a sit/stand desk at work. This is a desk designed to elevate allowing you to work sitting or standing. Standing for parts of the day promotes circulation and may help in preventing aches and pain in the lower back and neck.
  • Hold your phones up! Try to elevate your phone up to eye height when you can, this will help keep your head in a more neutral position.
  • Take tech breaks, when you are walking turn your phone onto aeroplane mode. This way you can look straight ahead focusing on keeping your posture upright.
  • If you already have neck or back pain having chiropractic care can help.1
  • Stretches and posture exercises – at your next visit ask our chiropractor, Dr Nick, to show you which exercise are suitable for you to do each day to help improve and support your posture and reduce the effects of ‘tech neck’.2

1. Bronfort G, Haas M, Evans R, Leiniger B, Triano J. Effectiveness of manual therapies: the UK evidence report. Chiropr Osteopat. 2010;18:3. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

2. Kirk, R., Franz, R., Hoirlis, K., Stiles, A. (2010). Effects of a Short Trial of Posture Exercises on Forward Head and Forward Shoulder Posture in Healthy Adults. Life University. The Journal of Chiropractic Education, Vol 24, 1, 2010

Chiropractic Treatment for Whiplash Injury



After a car accident, many things run through your mind. You worry about your car, your family, and the other driver. You release adrenaline into our body that helps you keep going—but it can also stop you from feeling your own injuries. Often, it isn’t until hours or days later that you feel discomfort in your spine and neck. The human body can handle much of what we throw at it every day, but it was not designed to be exposed to the force a car accident provides.

Whiplash refers to an injury suffered when the head and neck snap forward and backward suddenly, usually through a rear-end collision car accident. Whiplash injuries can also occur during sports, falls or any other activity that may violently snap the head and neck from one direction to another.

Research reveals that car crashes as slow as 15-20 km per hour can still generate whiplash. In Australia, the incidence of whiplash disorders is about 300 per 100,000 people. Up to 20% of drivers and passengers involved in rear-end motor car accidents experience whiplash symptoms. Symptoms can persist for months to years for 10 to 40% of people who experience whiplash injury.

Neck pain is the most common symptom of whiplash. Other symptoms can include headaches, aches, pain and tingling in the shoulders and arms, and dizziness or a feeling of being light-headed. Some people may continue to have these symptoms during their recovery.  In some instances, untreated whiplash injuries can result in chronic pain.

Woodward MN, Cook JCH, Gargan MF, and Bannister GC; Chiropractic treatment of chronic ‘whiplash’ injuries; Injury; Volume 27; Issue 9; November 1996; pp. 643-645.

When these additional symptoms are present it is called whiplash-associated disorder (WAD).

WAD injuries are graded 0-4.

  • 0= No Pain or other symptoms
  • 1= Minor pain, but no evidence of physical injury.
  • 2= Signs of physical injury such as trouble turning neck
  • 3=Neurological signs such as loss of reflexes or arm weakness
  • 4= Neck fracture or dislocation.

Khan S, Cook J, Gargan M, Bannister G; A symptomatic classification of whiplash injury and the implications for treatment; The Journal of Orthopaedic Medicine 21(1) 1999; pp. 22-25.

In a major accident, it is very important to get an immediate medical evaluation to rule out the possibility of fracture (WAD 4). In these rare cases, urgent medical attention is required. However, in most cases (WAD 0- 3), the whiplash affects the soft tissues and joints. Chiropractors are educated to understand whiplash injury and manage these cases from beginning to end. In Australia, treatment under third party motor vehicle insurance requires a medical doctor’s referral to a chiropractor.

A whiplash injury directly impacts the structure and stability of the spine. Medical treatment of whiplash can include pharmaceutical drugs that do not repair the underlying cause of the physical problem. Physical therapy for soft tissues does produce therapeutic results for whiplash but the use of soft tissue treatment does not address the spinal joints, ligaments, and nervous system function involved in proper healing and recovery.

Chiropractic care:
  • provides an effective, cost-efficient option for whiplash injury treatment.
  • addresses the pain and symptoms that radiate from the root cause of the injury.
  •  assists patients to experience reduced pain in a reduced duration of time when compared to whiplash patients using physical therapy and drugs.

Chiropractic patients needed on average ten return visits to restore physical wellness back to normal. Patients using physical therapy reported needing over twenty return visits to achieve the same results. Patients under chiropractic care also experienced an increased range of motion, improved flexibility, as well as a 21% greater reduction in pain compared to those receiving physical therapy.

“Manipulative Treatment vs. Conventional Physiotherapy Treatment in Whiplash Injury: A Randomized Controlled Trial.”C Fernandez d las penas, J Fernadez-Carnero, L Palomeque del Cerro, J Miangolarra

Hoving JL, Koes BW, de Vet HCW, van der Windt DAWN, Assendelft WJJ, van Mameren H, Devillé WLJM, Pool JJM, Scholten RJPM, Bouter LM; Manual Therapy, Physical Therapy, or Continued Care by a General Practitioner for Patients with Neck Pain a Randomized, Controlled Trial; Annals of Internal Medicine; May 21, 2002; Vol. 136; No. 10; pp. 713-722.

Timely chiropractic care can start to repair the damage, reduce your pain as well as get you back on your feet quickly.  If you have experience whiplash and need care please call our office on 62815494 to book an appointment with our chiropractor.


Pregnancy and Paediatrics

During the months of pregnancy, the expectant mother’s body goes through many changes.  One of these changes early on in pregnancy is the increased production of the hormone, relaxin. Relaxin allows muscles and ligaments to relax and stretch, particularly in the sacroiliac joints (hips) and symphysis pubis (‘pubic bone’) of the pelvis. This relaxation allows the pelvis to be more flexible during the birthing process thus making delivery of the new-born easier.

For many women, the relaxation of these pelvic ligaments increases back pain in the months leading up to the birth. As the pregnancy advances, more relaxin is released, which allows the pelvis to become increasingly unstable. In combination with the increased size of the baby and uterus, severe low back pain may be experienced.  This is where chiropractic care can be effective in reducing back pain and stabilising your pelvis.

Currently, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) recommends that women receive chiropractic care throughout pregnancy to establish pelvic balance and optimize the room a baby has for development throughout pregnancy. With a balanced pelvis, babies have a greater chance of moving into the correct position for birth, and the crisis and worry associated with breech and posterior presentations may be avoided altogether. Optimal baby positioning at the time of birth also eliminates the potential for dystocia (difficult labor) and therefore results in easier and safer deliveries for both the mother and baby.

Nick Gondzioulis has many years of experience in treating expectant mothers.  If you would like further information about your particular complaint please contact us by calling on 6281 5494, or pass by the clinic (Unit 2 Gadal Chambers 48 Corinna Street Woden Canberra ACT) to book an appointment.

Tips for Caring for Your Spine During Pregnancy

  • Don’t try to sit straight up from a lying position using your abdominal muscles.
  • Don’t wear high-heels.
  • Avoid standing with your hands on your hips and pushing your tummy forward.
  • Let others lift heavy items for you.
  • Avoid twisting your spine on top of your pelvis; instead try moving your whole body with your feet first. For example, when getting out of the car, turn your whole body towards the open door as you place your feet on the ground.
  • If you have other young children PLEASE avoid carrying them whenever possible. Have them walk if possible.
  • Avoid remaining in one position for too long.
  • Keep your pelvic floor strong.
  • Perform regular moderate exercise
  • Breathe deeply into your lower abdomen.
  • Every day, gently stretch your body.
  • Sleep with a pillow between your knees and place another pillow at your breast level to snuggle, so that you do not roll your upper body forward.
  • Have your spine regularly checked by a chiropractor.
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