Chiropractic is defined by the World Federation of Chiropractic as “A health profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, and the effects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health. There is an emphasis on manual treatments including spinal adjustment and other joint and soft-tissue manipulation.”

In other words, chiropractors believe in the body’s inherent ability to heal when the nervous system of the body is allowed to perform this task without interference. Diseases may afflict the body whenever the nervous system is compromised. The most common being the entrapment of a nerve. This creates a reaction of reflexes that affects blood flow and eventually, the organ that the blood is supplied to become stressed and works abnormally.

The job of a chiropractor is to remove interference to the nervous system so that the body will be able to heal itself naturally.

How does chiropractic treatment help?

Chiropractors are concerned with the interaction of the muscular-skeletal system and the nervous system, structurally. As the nervous system controls every cell in the body, it is important to keep that structure at an optimal state to function well. The chiropractic approach is to detect, correct and prevent nerve entrapment within the system naturally.

Hence, everybody benefits from chiropractic; be it an athlete, an elderly, an adult or a child. Without a proper functioning nervous system, the performance of an athlete or the optimal health of an individual would be compromise.

How is the chiropractic represented in Singapore?

Chiropractic profession is categorized under the traditional and complementary medicine branch of the Ministry of Health, Singapore.

The Chiropractic Association (Singapore), TCAS, is the professional national association in Singapore. It plays an important role in maintaining the standard of practice and ethics of member chiropractors. TCAS is the official association to also represent Singapore at the World Federation of Chiropractic; an NGO of the World Health Organization. The association is the public’s best assurance for an ethical and professional service in Singapore. Members abide by a code of ethics and practices that are internationally recognized.

What trending problems are chiropractors observing in their practices?

Through my 18 years of practice, I have treated a whole range of conditions ranging from apnea to zygapophyseal joint degeneration. However, my colleagues and I, are witnessing a disturbing trend emerging with the usage of smart devices..

The use of smartphones, tablets and laptops are causing an increased occurrence of cervical spine-related conditions. Though this is often seen with office workers, the trend is now observed in kids who are using these devices more often than adults.

The Chiropractic Association conducted a research survey and the findings were similar to a recent study by Microsoft and the US Department of Environmental Health. They also found that smartphone and tablet users have a higher potential for “neck and shoulder discomfort” compared to desktop users. There is also a new medical term known as “Ipad Shoulder” to describe injuries from these devices.

Patients would experience greater head and neck issues when these devices were used on the lap. Watching a movie or gaming puts undue strain on your neck and shoulders with improper posture over a constant period. This results in pain and over the long term, spinal diseases such as osteoarthritis. When the spinal joints are stressed chronically, the spinal structure adapts and eventually degenerates. We are now seeing early-stage posture problems in children.

The best solutions to these afflictions are adopting good posture habits with an active lifestyle, such as, taking periodic breaks from these devices and encouraging more physical activities. Proper ergonomic accessories and furniture also go a long way in combating neck and shoulder pain if used as instructed.

Existing pains in the neck and shoulder should be evaluated. Spinal adjustments from a chiropractor together with corrective exercises and good posture habits can help relieve pain and prevent future injuries. A study presented in the journal, Spine 2011, showed that supervised exercise received the most favourable outcome and patient satisfaction in terms of pain relief with improve mobility, and global improvement in general health status compared to patients treated only with manipulation.

As old habits die hard, persistently reinforcing good posture habits and an active lifestyle will reap the benefits of a healthy spine for a life-time.