Neck Pain

What We Do

Neck complaints arise from a vast number of different causes. We see plenty of people who present with pain following an acute injury, such as whiplash type injury, collision with the bottom of a pool or sand in the surf, a hit on the head by a basketball or a heavy impact in a football tackle. We also see those who have a more chronic insidious problem. Common complaints accompanying neck pain may be headaches, stiffness, shoulder pain, pins and needles down the arm or a feeling of weakness in the arm.

It probably wouldn’t surprise you to learn that the more acute types of injuries are vastly outnumbered by another cause. What’s known as “static loading”. Static loading simply means being stuck in the one position under a constant load. This of course happens with:

Computer work
Worse still, propped up in bed or slouched on the lounge with a laptop or tablet
Sitting at school
Phone use

With the head in the one position under load, the spine is under considerable strain. The muscles fatigue, discs and ligaments are under strain, the nervous system is under-stimulated, and the neck tightens up. Often it is the thoracic spine below the neck that jams up but will consequently produce neck muscle and joint pain.

As Gonstead chiropractors we analyse where the problem arises and where clinically indicated, attend to this with the application of manual care (spinal adjustments). It is important to also address postural and movement pattern issues and prescribe appropriate exercises.

Lower Back Pain

What We Do

Back pain is a very common complaint presenting to chiropractors.

The reason we get problems with our backs is mostly down to our lifestyle. It is not surprising that back pain is on the rise. In general, we sit too much, exercise too little and we often eat the wrong things. When we lift, we often lift the wrong way and we do too much in one go, often commonly causing strain to the mid and lower back. While our spines are a strong and robust structure, they need to be maintained and looked after to reduce the chance of pain and discomfort.

Our spinal column is made of a long chain of joints and cushioning discs that, together, form a protective tube around the spinal cord. The spine is supported by ligaments and muscles. If some of the segments or links in the spine stiffen up through injuries or degenerative changes, other segments move more to compensate causing imbalance, muscle fatigue and ligament sprains. This may lead to upper or mid-thoracic pain, lumbar pain, a “slipped disc” or disc injury, nerve irritation or even referral of pain to the shoulders, hip, or knee. Most injuries are caused by what is called “recurrent micro-trauma”, meaning many small repetitive injuries, until the proverbial ‘last straw’. That is why people often hurt themselves doing very trivial things such as simply bending to put on their shoes. Of course, back injuries can also be caused by more strenuous lifting, sporting injuries, slips and falls.

We attend to a wide variety of back pain presentations, including disc herniations/protrusions/bulges, facet injuries, sacroiliac injuries, and what people often describe as “slipped discs” and “pinched nerves”. With careful examination we utilise the Gonstead Chiropractic approach where clinically indicated. We also like to give you plenty of guidance to self manage as much as possible. Certainly, exercise advice but even subtle changes in your movement patterns and routines can make a world of difference when carefully identified.


What We Do

Sciatica is a relatively common condition, and simply refers to pain down the back of the leg or ‘posterior leg pain’. Sciatic pain is often described as tingling, pain or numbness produced by an irritation or entrapment of the nerve roots (3rd lumbar to the 3rd sacral nerve roots) that make up the sciatic nerve. Sciatica occurs when this nerve is compressed, irritated, or inflamed. The typical referral pattern begins in your back or buttock and moves down the back of your leg, radiating around the outside of your knee and lower leg into your big toe and second toe. Weakness, tingling, or numbness in the leg may also occur. Pain referral can also occur in the leg from other sources such as the lumbar spine facets, discs, sacroiliac joints or spinal tissue without compression of the sciatic nerve.

Symptoms can certainly arise from an acute injury, such as heavy lifting, a fall, or a day shovelling. Pain may also develop more insidiously from prolonged sitting, lack of exercise or repetitive bending.

As Gonstead chiropractors, we take care to identify the pain generating structure and it’s influence on the leg pain. At times this may even be another part of the spine or pelvis that causes a compensatory pattern irritating the sciatic nerve. When clinically indicated we typically use specifically applied manual care (adjustments) to address the problem.

It is important to also attend to underlying initiating and perpetuating factors such as posture, movement patterns (eg. bending technique, lifting technique, exercise technique), work habits, sports injury risk factors and sitting. Exercise advice for stability, flexibility and proprioception (joint/body positional awareness) may be helpful.

Mid Back Pain

What We Do

Mid back pain occurs in the region of the thoracic spine, composed of the 12 thoracic vertebrae with 12 pairs of ribs attached. There are many different problems that could trigger mid back pain. Causes of pain in the middle back include:

Poor posture
emotional stress
improper lifting
anxious breathing
prolonged sitting
referral from internal organs

It is our role as chiropractors to identify the cause of the pain and the tissue structures that are producing the pain. Commonly mid back pain will come from dysfunction (tightening, poor alignment or overstrain) of the thoracic spinal joints and associated muscles. Sometimes patients report associated symptoms such as digestive disturbances, shortness of breath, anxious breathing and headaches. Quite often mid-back symptoms are a result of lower back or even neck problems which require attention. The approach we take is to take a thorough health history, perform a detailed physical examination and X-Ray examination if clinically indicated. A proper understanding of the condition can then be made. If the spine is subluxated (misaligned, fixated and inflamed) correction is usually made using adjustments, which are specific gentle short-lever manipulations. As the condition improves, we usually prescribe specific exercises and address posture and lifestyle habits.

Headaches & Migraines

What We Do

Headaches or ‘head pain’ can be caused from a vast number of conditions. They can sometimes originate from more sinister causes, however, most do not and can often be helped with chiropractic care.

Migraine headaches are a genetic condition with potentially a multitude of triggers.

Dysfunction of your spinal joints as well as tightness within the supporting musculature may at times be one of the triggers for migraine, this is an area of particular interest for chiropractors. Learning self-management strategies in reducing potential triggers can be a useful part of a management plan for migraine sufferers.

Tension type and cervicogenic (which means originating from the neck) are other common headache types. Chiropractors will look to assess for a musculoskeletal component with possible nervous system effects in these types of cases. An assessment will typically include the mid and lower back (thoracic and lumbar spine) as well as the neck (cervical spine).

Lifestyle changes, such as following an exercise program, good nutrition, staying well hydrated, getting plenty of sleep and learning relaxation techniques can also be helpful with headaches. Taking regular breaks from work stations and from static positions is important, as is learning to improve postures in daily activities. As chiropractors, we will discuss and help you to manage these various contributing factors to headache conditions