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sydney chiropractor

Deadlifts: Great exercise, but is it for you?


Deadlifts: Great exercise, but is it for you?

When patients walk into the clinic and tell me that they have injured themselves at the gym, the first thought process that enters my mind is “I bet they did deadlifts” and 90% of the time, I’m right. Why is this a thing? How come it is such a great exercise that everyone promotes, but so many people get injured?

Don’t get me wrong, I think deadlifts are a great exercise to gain strength and build muscle. But why are you doing them? Do you want to get better at the movement? Do you want to compete in a powerlifting competition? Or are you someone just doing them because you saw on Youtube that they are a great way to get stronger? Deadlifts when done incorrectly, can put an immense amount of pressure on your low back. The forward bending movement, together with the heavy weight a lot of the time injures the discs of the lower back. Correct form is so critical with deadlifts and without proper coaching, engagement of the core, form, and back control it can be quite a dangerous movement pattern for a lot of people. 

For me, it’s about risk vs reward. If you’re doing deadlifts because you want to get better at them or have a competition coming up, then great keep doing them. You’re most likely a person that knows what you’re doing. However, if you’re someone just doing them cause you heard someone say they are great, I suggest doing other exercises that engage the same group of muscles. There are many great alternatives to deadlifts that decrease the load on your low back and yes, you will still get the results that you are looking for. 

If you have injured yourself performing deadlifts at the gym, our team at Complete City Health are experts in Lower back pain injuries. Make sure to book an appointment for a detailed analysis of what is causing your pain. 


Best way to warm up? Well, it depends...


Best way to warm up? Well, it depends...

One very common question that patients ask me is, what kind of warm up/stretches should I be doing before my workouts. This aspect of training is one that is commonly forgotten or neglected but it plays a pivotal part in prevention of injuries.

Everything depends on context. What sport/activity are you doing? I believe that your warm up routine should mimic the specific movements that your activity requires. For example, if you’re a Football player, football specific drills with the ball, dribbling, cutting angles should be part of your warm up. Doing a lot of squats, lunges might not be the most efficient way to warm up cause let’s face it, how often do you utilise that movement pattern in football?

In terms of stretching, I would recommend that post workout/sport, you should perform some static stretching (holding positions, not moving). Again, i believe that the muscles you stretch should be sport specific. Again, using football as an example, which muscles were used most? Most likely, the quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves. So let’s stretch these out.

If you’re currently struggling with your flexibility or mobility, there may be an underlying issue. It was always better to prevent pain, then to treat pain. Make sure you go and see a healthcare professional before things get worse!


Chronic Jaw Pain: Can Chiropractic help?


Chronic Jaw Pain: Can Chiropractic help?

One of the most debilitating conditions that affects your everyday activities is Jaw pain. For obvious reasons, having issues with your jaw can hinder your ability to talk and eat solid foods.

Jaw pain (Temporomandibular Joint pain- TMJ) can present with varying symptoms. Some additional complaints that are closely related to TMJ dysfunction include:

  • Headaches

  • Ear pain

  • Joint sounds/Clicking

  • Neck stiffness

As Chiropractors, we are trained to look at the jaw for movement, function and possible causes of Jaw pain. Once the cause of the Jaw pain is identified, various techniques can be utilised in order for you to regain range of motion, decrease pain and to increase function.

If your Jaw pain has been irritating you, isn’t it time for a check-up?


Low back Pain: Are you experiencing these symptoms?


Low back Pain: Are you experiencing these symptoms?

Low Back Pain is one of the world’s most common symptoms. It causes more global disability than any other disease!

Low back pain is the common term we use to describe a symptom, but it does not tell us the CAUSE/WHY the pain is there from the beginning. A disc injury is a common term that we hear, and here are some key characteristics that can determine if you have a disc lesion.

  1. Pain is worse in the morning than at night. This is because discs hydrate during the night, which can increase the size of the disc, pushing the surrounding nerves

  2. There is associated leg pain (Pins and needles, numbness, muscle weakness may also be present)

  3. The pain goes all the way down into the calf or heel

  4. Bending forward causes the most pain/Bending forward and twisting is the mechanism of injury

The pain in the legs can somewhat guide us into which area of the low back may be injured. For example, a L4/5 disc lesion may have toe weakness with glute/lateral leg pain where as a L5/S1 lesion can present with ankle weakness with glute/hamstring/heel pain. Understanding the location of the pain means that we can address it as soon as possible before symptoms get worse.



Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Working in front of a computer puts a lot of stress on different parts of your body. One common presentation is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). CTS is a specific term used to describe a peripheral nerve entrapment of the median nerve. When this nerve is entrapped, symptoms of pain and numbness/tingling in the palms and fingers are common. The median nerve originally starts at the neck, from C5-T1 of the spine. It then travels all the way down into your wrist and fingers as shown in the diagram below.


The most common cause of CTS seems to be correlated with a history of direct pressure on the wrist or a history of prolonged wrist use in full extension and flexion. It is also that women in their forties and fifties are 4X more likely than men to suffer from CTS. Chiropractors are trained to diagnose and successfully treat CTS, through different modalities of therapy. If you are experiencing chronic wrist pain, our team at Complete City Health are here to help you.


Is your breathing technique causing Low back and Neck pain?


Is your breathing technique causing Low back and Neck pain?

I’m assuming most of you think you know how to breathe.. I mean it’s simple enough, inhale exhale. But did you know that the way you breathe could be causing your low back or neck pain? Let me explain.

A “proper” diaphragmatic breath should look like the image below. As you breathe in, your stomach should be pushing out. As you exhale, the belly goes in. Now if you’re reading this, I want you to analyse yourself and see how you are breathing. Are you doing it correctly?


Now how does breathing abnormally affect low back or neck pain?

Our diaphragm is a primary muscle that enables us to inhale and exhale. It also has attachments to the lumbar spine (L1-L3). When muscles are dysfunctional, their corresponding insertion points can also be dysfunctional thus causing pain.

One of the most common faults to abnormal breathing is chest breathing. That is, using muscles of the neck and chest (Scalenes, SCM, Pec minor) to get a good breath in. Now, do this over the course of many many years, these muscles are overworked. Overworked muscles can become dysfunctional which can lead to pain. If you are someone who uses their chest to breathe, there are methods to reverse this. Our chiropractors at Complete City Health can help you regain the normal pattern, and train your body to be optimised!


Let's talk about Headaches


Let's talk about Headaches

Every clinician will tell you one of the hardest conditions to deal with is headaches. Why is that the case? The cause of a headache can range from just tight muscles around the neck to inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. This is why headaches have to be taken very seriously especially when diagnosing as this can determine the treatment and hence the outcome.

Headaches can be broadly split into the following categories:

  1. Migraines

  2. Tension type (most common at 38% of U.S adults)

  3. Cluster (<0.1% of U.S adults)

  4. Cervicogenic (18% of U.S adults)

One of the most surprising things about headaches is that A LOT of people think it’s normal. Remember, getting a headache once a fortnight or once a month is NOT a common/normal thing. This is quite frequent and if it is affecting the way you live, it must be taken care of. Whatever type of headache you have will slightly alter the way we treat your symptoms. At Complete City Health, our Chiropractors look to identify the CAUSE of the headache, not just treat the symptoms. Isn’t about time you lived headache-free?


Chronic Shoulder pain: Consider this


Chronic Shoulder pain: Consider this

The shoulder is one of the most complex joints in our body. I always say to my patients, there’s a trade off between mobility and stability. If joints are mobile, usually not so stable, like the shoulder. If a joint in stable like the hips, mobility can become an issue.

Shoulder pain can have many different causes. It can range from trauma, bio-mechanical dysfunction, instability, etc..

One cause can be coming from your neck. That’s right, your cervical spine.

Let’s have a look at the image below.


Our Cervical spine houses a bunch of nerves that we call the brachial plexus. These nerves come out like branches and supply sensation, motor control to our upper limbs. When these nerves get damaged (trauma) or has a poor environment (spinal degeneration) surrounding it, it can cause the “symptom” of shoulder pain, but the “CAUSE” is actually stemming from the cervical spine. When is the last time you had your spine checked?


Posture Talk: Upper Cross Syndrome


Posture Talk: Upper Cross Syndrome

Being in the heart of the Sydney CBD means that we see a lot of office workers. Now one of the most common concerns for patients is their Posture. Is your head always forward, shoulders slouched, feel the constant need to stretch out your mid back and neck? You may have “Upper Cross Syndrome”. Let’s have a look at the image below.


Upper Cross Syndrome essentially describes muscle imbalances of the upper back and neck. The ‘tight’ muscles are predominantly the Upper Traps and Levator scapula. These muscles help elevate the shoulder and the shoulder blade. Tight Pectorals (chest muscles) roll the shoulder forward, further accentuating poor neck biomechanics. The inhibited (weak) muscles are the Deep Neck flexors which bring your chin towards your chest and the Rhomboids and Serratus Anterior, which stabilises your shoulder blade and prevents them from rolling forward. Just to be clear, this posture can be caused by other issues in the spine, not just these factors. However, if you do find yourself slouching at work, addressing these issues just may be the solution you have been looking for!



Neck stiffness & pain: Consider this

Now by far one of the most common issues that I see as a Chiropractor is neck pain/dysfunction/stiffness whatever you may want to call it. It’s super uncomfortable to have Chronic (lasting longer than 6 weeks) neck issues as you use it for pretty much everything. Everyone has probably had an episode where by their neck muscles feel very “tight” and leads to them getting headaches/migraines. If this is you, you need to read on.

Now having tight muscles can be from various causes. From overuse, past trauma, muscle imbalances from poor posture, occupational predispositions and the list goes on. One factor that many seem to overlook is structure. Our spine is designed with curves, what we label as ‘Lordosis’ and ‘Kyphosis’ (see image below)


Our neck has a natural curve we call cervical lordosis (a reverse C curve) and we want to maintain that. Why?

Let’s look at this image below. Can you see all those ligaments behind the vertebrae? Not listed here are muscles which we have A LOT of behind our neck. Now imagine over time when your neck loses this curve and starts to straighten (right image). Can you visualise how all these ligaments and muscles are going to have increased tension due to poor structure? What can cause the neck to curve the other way? With our daily habits of looking at our phones, sitting in front of our desks at the computer, and generally just sitting in a ‘hunched’ posture throughout our daily lives has put our necks under a lot more pressure.

If you are one of the people who constantly get massages and never seem to be getting results, this may be your reason. Tight muscles are a SYMPTOM of something underlying. Finding the CAUSE is what we do.



Postural Exercises


Postural Exercises

If you want to improve your posture and decrease pain , theses exercises will help.


Sit up straight with elbows at sides and bent to 90 degrees (right angle).

Push shoulders together and down, with palms facing the floor.

Make a waxing motion in the air while maintaining the above position. **Keep elbows "glued" to sides while completing motion.**

Do this for 20 seconds. Repeat 4 times.

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Stand against wall with feet shoulder width apart.

Gently press low back against wall.

Place back of elbows, forearms, and wrists against wall.

Bring arms up and down slowly in a small arc of motion while keeping elbows in contact with wall.

Do this 10 times.

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Lie on stomach on a pillow, with forehead resting on a rolled towel to keep neck in neutral.

Bring arms out to sides with elbows bent to 90 degrees.

Lift arms up while squeezing shoulder blades together.

Hold each 3-5 seconds, and do 3 sets of 5-10 repetitions.

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Sit up straight on a chair.

Keep elbows very close to sides and pull back on a resistive band as shoulder blades come back and down.

Return to start position slowly.

Do 3 sets of 5 repetitions.

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Sit in chair with back supported.

Tighten stomach as if someone were going to punch it.

Press fingers into abdomen and tighten abdominals even more to resist pressure of fingers. ** keep breathing!!!**

Hold 15 seconds. Repeat 5 times.

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Stand with buttocks, and back against wall.

Bring feet to 12" from wall. **Keep back against wall.**

Lower down until knees are bent to about 60 degrees keeping abdominals tight.

Raise back up to where knees are slightly bent.

Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

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Sit at edge of chair with feet slightly behind knees.

Stand up while keeping neck erect and spine erect. Your back should not bend forward.

Immediately return to sitting, but do not put full weight on chair.

Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions slowly.

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