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Health Misconception #2: Chiropractors Only Straighten The Backbone

Health Misconception #2: Chiropractors Only Straighten The Backbone


Steven had a history of back pain in the past, “It was not bad and always went away after two days.”


Dr. Gary addresses your body’s pain points in his new book The Pain Free Desk Warrior – Free Yourself From Aches And Pains. Here he shares an excerpt in hopes that you can start living your life free of pain, fatigue, and illness!

You can also catch up on Health Misconception #1: Knowing The Cause Of Your Pain Can Help You Avoid It.

He repeatedly assured me (and himself) that his back pain was “not that bad”, but it persisted for over three weeks.

A doctor in one of the top hospitals in Singapore prescribed him three days of anti-inflammatory medications and rest. The doctor advised Steven that if the pain returned after three days, he should undergo an MRI scan.

After three days, the pain persisted and Steven decided to see a GP friend of his. His friend told him to do some simple stretching to help it go away. His friend the GP said it could take weeks, maybe even months before the pain went away.

A Visit To ChiroWorks

When Steven came into my practice, he asked if I was the right person to check his back. After seeing two doctors who told him different things, he wanted my advice. I replied that although there were benefits in doing an MRI scan and stretching, we should first find out what was wrong with his back.

An MRI allows us to see the structures in the body but cannot tell us how the body is performing. I suggested that he clinically evaluate his spine, pelvis, and hips before undergoing an MRI scan.

He agreed and let me conduct the clinical diagnostic evaluation. This involved orthopaedic and neurological examinations, nerve tension tests, 3D foot and body postural screening, assessment of the structural alignment and integrity of the spine, global and specific joint motion, and interplay and biomechanics of the kinematic chain (how the spine works together with the pelvis, hip, knee, ankle, and foot).

After Steven’s examination, we found the pelvis tilted and rotated, a rotation of the spinal bones and sacrum (tailbone), a compression of the lower back in a backwards direction (extension), loss of movement in three directions, muscle imbalance, and loss of nerve function.

I did not refer him for the MRI scan immediately and recommended a series of chiropractic adjustments.

The Truth About Chiropractors

Chiropractic adjustments are not about cracking bones or cracking backs.

Adjustments are not the same as the massage therapist doing all they can to make your back pop. And it doesn’t matter whether you hear a popping noise or not.

Adjustments are designed to correct the specific imbalances, subluxations and restrictions found during the assessment; no assessment, no adjustment. An adjustment is the physical art of correcting the tilted pelvis, rotated spinal segments, contracted muscle, compressed disc, and restricted joints.

There are lots of ways to perform an adjustment, either via touch or assisted with tools and technology.

Chiropractic Tools

One of the tools we use is called an Activator. The Activator is one of the low force adjusting techniques we use for adjusting babies, the elderly, and small joints like the hands and feet. It delivers a gentle but rapid impulse onto the targeted area, to create joint movement, and activate the large diameter nerve fibres. When these nerves are activated, they help reduce pain, and stimulate the brain to bring awareness and connection to the nerves and corresponding region of the body.

When I first purchased the Activator, my friend Bernard was curious as to what it was, why it was so expensive, and what it could do. After assessing his neck, I found a restriction in the upper neck, and delivered the adjustment using the Activator. When we were finished, he exclaimed that his headache was almost completely gone. He also expressed interest in buying one so he could use it on himself! Of course, it is of no use if he cannot correctly assess and deliver the correct adjustment.

Sarah also enjoyed being adjusted with an Activator. She was first introduced to the Activator over 10 years ago by her chiropractor in Sydney, after expressing concerns and aversion to hearing popping noises. Sarah initially thought “what would that thing do?” but after her first adjustment, she was thinking “wow!” She never thought that something so light and innocent could get rid of her pain. Ever since then, she’s enjoyed every adjustment with the Activator.

Chiropractic adjustments are like a servicing or overhaul for your car. We can do major repair works or simple fine-tuning to make sure that everything works properly and smoothly, so it doesn’t break down easily and you generally have fewer problems.

Six adjustments later, Steven was already feeling much better. He was also happy to save the $1000 he would have spent on the MRI.

Get a copy of Dr. Gary’s book ‘The Pain-Free Desk Warrior’ by visiting his shop!


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Dr Gary Tho

Dr Gary Tho is the founder of ChiroWorks, a health care clinic, specialising in peak performance for anyone who can’t afford an ‘off’ day. His clients include executives, corporates, professional athletes and artists. He is also a speaker & writer. Dr Gary conducts a variety of engaging health workshops and his book The Pain Free Desk Warrior - Free yourself from aches and pains will be launched in Oct 2015. Dr Gary is changing the world one posture at a time.

Edited by: Amber Valencia, Image credit: Shutterstock

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