Introduction to Decompression of Back

There are many reasons why someone suffers from lower back pain. Common reasons include injuries and ageing. Our spine is naturally protected by the vertebrae and cushioning it are the intervertebral disks. The main function of the intervertebral disks is to cushion any impact or shock experienced by the spinal cord and protects it from any damages. However, sudden huge impact can cause the spine to be damaged despite of the protective measures. Ageing also contribute to a significant percentage of people suffering from back pain mainly due to degeneration of the disks due to wear and tear.

There are many methods to treat back pain. One of the more popular methods is the decompression of back or Spinal Decompression. Spinal Decompression is a non-invasive treatment which means that there is no incision or injections required. It is also non-surgical and it’s relatively cost effective as compared to other methods such as surgery.

Spinal Decompression uses the mechanism of traction which straightens the backbone and relieves pressure in the back. The patient will be lying on the back and motorised traction will help to create negative pressure in the intervertebral disks and that helps to relieve the pain. The spine is gently stretched and this stretching motion will change the position of the spine, allowing them to realign to their normal position. Spinal Decompression also increases oxygen flow to the spine, allowing better exchange of nutrients and increasing healing rate.

Being a non-surgical and non-invasive method, the cost of treatment will be much cheaper as compared to surgery. During surgery, the bulging disks will be trimmed to prevent it from pinching onto the nerves which causes pain. Surgery is expensive and ranges from $20000 to $25000. Surgery is also much more dangerous as compared to Spinal Decompression. The usual cost for each Spinal Decompression treatment ranges from $100 to $200 and patients will usually improve within 20 sessions.

However, Spinal Decompression is not meant for everyone. Patients who are pregnant or suffering from current illnesses such as cancer, osteoporosis, neuro-disorders or cognitive dysfunction are not allowed to undergo Spinal Decompression.

Spinal Decompression is a non-surgical, non-invasive and low risk treatment for back pain which most people are able to undergo. Most doctors will often leave surgery as the last resort as it carries the highest risk amongst all treatment options. As such, there is no harm in giving Spinal Decompression a go.

What is Slipped Herniated Disc?

Our spine is composed entirely of bones called vertebrae and providing them with cushioning are small discs called the intervertebral discs. Over time, the intervertebral discs can lose their elasticity and will place the spine at a higher risk of injury. Pain in the spinal disc have many different terms, the common ones being “pinched nerve”, “slipped disc” and “slipped herniated disc”. The truth is, all of the terms refer to the same thing. Many patients who suffer from back pain, leg pain and the weakening of the lower core muscles are usually diagnosed as suffering from slipped herniated disc.

Over time as we age, the disc will lose its water content and become less elastic. If the event that it ruptures, the spinal disc will get pushed out of its normal position and if they pinch onto the spinal nerves, it is called slipped herniated disc. Slipped disc can also occur due to other reasons beside ageing such as traumatic injuries or cyclic loading of the spinal area. When the herniated disc pinches onto the spinal nerves, it will affect the normal signalling process of the nerves and can even stop the signals from being passed.

Some common symptoms of a slipped herniated disc include sharp electric shock pain, muscle weakness, loss of bladder or bowel control and numbness. If the pinching of the nerves by the herniated disc causes high pressure, it can cause weird sensation such as a sharp electric shock kind of pain and the pain can travel down from the neck area to the arms and legs. Since there is a loss of signalling functions, the instructions from the brain can be interrupted and that can cause weakening of the muscles. One common way to diagnose this is to test for reflexes. If there is a lag in reflexes, it is a sign of nerve irritation. Another symptom is the loss of bowel and/or bladder function. Since there is an issue with nerve signalling, the body is unable to properly control the bowel and bladder and can cause them to release substances without you wanting to. It can also be the other way round where you wish to urinate or defecate but you are unable to. Another common symptom is numbness of a particular area for a long time as numbness usually indicates nerve damage.

The loss of body functions due to nerve damages can affect our lives greatly and we should always take all precautions to protect our spine. This can be easily done by the usage of protective equipment during high impact sports as well as lifting heavy objects using the correct method.

Microdiscectomy Spine Surgery or Physiotherapy?

Located in our spine are intervertebral discs who acts as the cushioning system for the spine. It helps to balance the forces experience by the spine through actions like standing, jumping, lifting and sitting. It also helps to protect the vertebrae and brain by limiting the amount of movement allowed by each individual disc. Repeated actions over time can cause the disc to weaken and sudden impact or trauma can cause shearing of the discs, resulting in the semi-liquid substances to impinge onto the nerves, causing pain. When things get more serious, daily actions such as bowel and bladder control may not be possible and thus, surgery is often recommended by doctors. However, should you really consider surgery or other options like physiotherapy?


During microdiscectomy, a small part of the bone is removed to create a space between the vertebrae which helps to relieve internal pressure, reduce pain and relieve neural impingement. As a small piece of bone is removed, it will not cause any instability issues with it. Neural impingement can cause pain in places such as the leg and after microdisectomy, an almost instant relief can be felt by the patient. As with all spine injury, there is a certain risk level. It is often the last resort as no surgery is 100% risk free. Unless patients suffer from bowel and bladder incontinence or other neural problems, doctors will not recommend surgery and will often suggest physiotherapy to try to find a solution to the problem. However, risk level is still generally low compared to other forms of surgery.


Physiotherapy is one of the options doctors will recommend initially together with pain relief medication. Physiotherapy is non-invasive, relatively safe and helps to strengthen the muscles in the body. Through stabilisation and strengthening exercises, some patients are able to find relief and are able to continue to lead a good quality lifestyle without surgery. Strong muscles are able to help take on some of the burden from the spine and distribute the weight much more evenly, reducing the stresses placed on the spine and reducing pain. Even if surgery is required after physiotherapy, it helps to reduce the recovery time as physiotherapy helps to keep them in a tip top condition and with strong muscles and body functions, they are able to recover faster.

When you suffer from spinal pain, you should consider going for physiotherapy first. There is always a chance that you can recover and lead a pain free life without surgery. However, only when things start to become more serious should you consider surgery.

Top 4 Occupations that Negatively Affects the Musculoskeletal System

Our musculoskeletal system consists of the bones, ligaments, tendons and many more that allows us to move around. Disorders to the musculoskeletal will affect our locomotion and will cause problems to our daily lives. Disorders are often due to cyclic stresses and strains caused by our daily activities. Some occupations have an increased risk for Musculoskeletal disorders and our shoulders, hands, neck and back are the ones that are usually affected.

Carpet layers

Carpet layers are workers who lay carpets for customers. They are required to be in a kneeling position for prolonged periods of times daily and they not only have to kneel on a hard surface, they also have to use a knee kicker to stretch the carpet to ensure proper alignment. Whenever we kneel down, our body weight is fully on our both knees and keeling for long periods of time on a hard surface will cause even more damage to the meniscus and kneecap. Over time, the meniscus will wear off and the kneecap will also get damaged.


Movers are often required to carry heavy loads on their back and this will cause serious musculoskeletal problems such as chronic back pain, sprains, strains and even slipped disks. Back strains are often caused by overloading and poor lifting techniques. If it continues, the muscle can get torn and that will cause inflammation, causing pain and possibly muscle spasms. An injured back muscle will need to work even harder to protect and support the spine, leaving the spine at an additional risk to getting injured.

Office workers

Office workers work in probably the most relaxed and ideal conditions but they are one of the ones with the highest risk to musculoskeletal disorders. Sitting in a poor posture for a day causes more damage to the body than manual work. Poor posture such as hunching can cause lower back pain and shoulder stiffness. Prolonged sitting in a fixed position can also cause an overload in the muscle structures.

Construction workers

Construction workers are often required to carry heavy static loads throughout the day. To distribute the weight better, they often carry the items over their head in a outstretched position. The muscles are thus unable to contract and this will injure the muscles and even hinder the proper blood circulation around the body. Prolonged period of poor blood flow can cause the arms to swell.

It is easy to prevent musculoskeletal disorders by making small changes to your daily lifestyle. The working environment needs to be changed and you also need to be aware of the hazards you are faced with and overcome them.

Difference Between Chiropractor and Orthopaedic Doctors

An unfortunate accident occurred one day while you were playing contact sports and that left you with a knee injury. You know that you need to consult a medical professional for this injury and you start to evaluate the options available. Should you go to an Orthopaedic doctor or should you go to a Chiropractor? Each has its own advantages. For some cases, chiropractic sports are great to treat certain injuries while some injuries fall outside the jurisdiction of chiropractic and only orthopaedic surgery can treat them.

Who are Chiropractors and how do they treat an injury? First of all, Chiropractors are not medical doctors and they do not prescribe medications. Chiropractors believe in hands on and alternative treatment instead of surgery. They believe that the body is able to heal on its own. For example, if mobility to a certain part of the body is observed, they will manipulate that particular part to regain mobility. A visit to a Chiropractor usually cost a lot lesser than a visit to an Orthopaedic doctor. Some chiropractors even make the first consultation complimentary. Not only that, you are also able to fix an appointment at an earlier date as compared to an appointment with an Orthopaedic doctor. However, multiple visits to Chiropractors are required to be able to see results and in the long term, it may cost more than a visit to the latter.

Orthopaedic doctors on the other hand are medical doctors. They specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of our musculoskeletal system. Many people have the idea that orthopaedic doctors are doctors who will recommend surgery for everything, from a torn meniscus to a dislocated bone. This is not true. Orthopaedic doctors will often only recommend surgery when all other available options are exhausted. If the injury can be treated with physical therapy, they will recommend that unless patients insist on surgery in the first place. Orthopaedic doctors will make use of medical technologies such as X-Rays and MRI scans to tell the patient what exactly is wrong with their body. They are also able to prescribe pain relief medications be it orally or via injections, something that Chiropractors are not able to.

Deciding on a visit either to a Chiropractor or an Orthopaedic doctor is purely the decision of the patient. As a patient, you need to know what type of injury you have suffered and make your decision based on that. Different people prefer different things and be sure to know what results you really want.

Effects on Joints and Skeleton Integrity – Golf

After seeing the wonders of Tiger Woods in the golfing world, many people are suddenly interested in the sport and it has seen a huge growth not only in America but also around the world. People from young to old are starting to learn how to play golf and well to do parents are also forcing their kids to learn golf as it is seen as a game that rich businessmen sign contracts over. However with the increasing in golfers, there is also an increase in injuries related to golf. What are they?

Shoulder injuries

Shoulder injuries especially to the muscles and tendons are extremely common due to overuse. Depending on the severity of the injury, it can cause a slight strain to a complete tear. Golf requires the use of the rotator cuff muscles during the swinging of the club and over prolonged usage of them, inflammation can occur, causing pain and tenderness. Amateur golfers are at a higher risk as they use their rotator cuff muscles much more than professional golfers due to incorrect swinging techniques.

Golfer’s elbow

Golfer’s elbow is similar to tennis elbow just that they are caused by 2 different sports and the location of the pain differs. Golfer’s elbow are caused by overuse and cyclic loading of the tendons and it will result in inflammation, causing immense pain to the player. Pain will be felt at the elbow joint inside of the arm and it will cause a sharp pain even during simple task like squeezing something.

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis affects the tendons that are at your thumb and will cause immense pain whenever you try to move your wrist or clench your fingers together. They are caused by repeated hand movement such as swinging the golf club for a prolonged period of time.

Trigger finger

Trigger finger occurs when an attempt to bend the finger towards the palm, the finger is locked in the position due to the tendon getting stuck. Trigger finger are common in people who frequently uses their hands repeatedly and can cause swelling of the tendons in the fingers, causing it to get locked in the opening of the sheath.

Knee injuries

Knee injuries can occur when the golfer swings the club and it results in a rotation of the knee, causing huge stress on the ligaments and the stress can cause the anterior cruciate ligament to tear. Depending on the power of the turn, it can even cause meniscus tear.

Injuries associated with golf are common and are increasing mainly due to the increase in number of golfers nowadays. As mentioned above, most injuries are caused by repeatedly usage and incorrect usage of various muscle groups. Do take care when you are playing and give your body plenty of rest in-between golfing sessions.

7 symptoms of slipped disc that you should be aware of

Slipped disc or herniated disc happens when a part of the disc in the spine ruptures and the gel in it leaks out. This will place stress and pressure on the surrounding nerves and cause pain and discomfort in the patient. Many patients have slipped discs without them even realising it. Depending on the location of the slipped disc, the pain and discomfort will vary. Here are some of the symptoms of slipped disc that you should know.

Pain in the arms and legs

If the location of the slipped disc is at the lower back, there will be severe pain experienced in the lower part of the body such as the buttocks, legs and thighs. Depending on the severity, pain in the feet may also be experienced by some. If the slipped disc is at the neck region, there will be pain felt in the arms and shoulders. During certain actions such as sneezing or coughing, the pain will be more intense.


When patients have a slipped disc, the gel will leak out and place pressure on the nerves, causing numbness in certain parts of the body. When you experience numbness, it could be a sign of a slipped disc.


The muscles surrounding the injured nerves will start to weaken and this will affect your basic day to day actions such as walking and even the ability to hold things.

Loss of bladder and bowel control

The immense pressure on the nerves can cause patients to lose their ability to control their bladder and bowel. This is an indication of a very serious complication and medical attention should be sought immediately.

Muscle spasms

When the bulging disc is pressing against the ligaments and onto the nerves, it causes tremendous pain to the surrounding area. As such, the affected muscles will go into spasm as part of our body’s natural mechanism to immobilise the affected area and to reduce pain on its own.

Loss of ability to perform fine motor skills

Slipped discs can also cause a compression of our spinal cord, leading to the loss of ability to perform fine motor skills such as writing and tying shoe laces.

Abnormal sensation

The pressure acted on the nerves can cause abnormal feelings and sensations to be experienced by the patient. Depending on the location of the slipped disc, sudden electric shock sensation can be felt in places such as the arms and legs.

Above are some of the symptoms of slipped disc. All of them are caused by the pressure on the nerves from the herniated disc and they can disrupt signals from the brain to other parts of our body. If you have any of the symptoms, consult a doctor immediately.

Consequences of having a poor sitting posture

Good posture is essential for overall well-bring. Prolonged sitting with poor posture will lead to negative effects such as back pain, muscle strain and improper alignment. Prolong sitting will cause the body to get into a slouchy postion which seems to be more comfortable, but there are consequences in the long run. Being in a poor sitting posture for a long period of time will increase pressure on the intervertebral discs, increasing the chances of suffering a back injury.

Weak stomach muscles

Our stomach muscles are one of the core body muscles and they are important to help maintain proper posture of the body. The stomach muscles work hand in hand with our back muscles to support and hold the body in the proper alignment. Poor sitting posture will lead to us having weak stomach muscles and this will lead to cause improper alignment of the back and ultimately weakening the lumbar spine muscles, causing back pain.

Poor blood circulation

Poor sitting posture will lead to a lack of proper blood circulation around the body, causing degeneration of the intervertebral discs and eventually causing back pain.

Neck pain

Poor posture is responsible for more than 80% of neck pain as it will cause misalignment of the back, head and shoulders, causing tremendous strain on the ligaments and muscles, causing neck pain.

Spine curvature

Poor posture can cause the curving of the spine, adding pressure on the spine and reducing the ability of the spine to absorb shock. This will lead to a higher chance of injury. In the long term, it will also lead to neck pain, headache and lower back pain.


Poor posture leads to muscle tension, reducing blood flow throughout the body. A decrease in blood flow can possibly lead to fatigue and headache. A proper posture instead will help increase the flow of blood throughout the entire body.

Inefficient breathing

Our body is designed in a way that the entire skeletal system and muscles are in a proper alignment and that helps to ensure every single component of our body is placed correctly for optimal health. A poor posture disrupts that and that will decrease the capacity of the lungs to take in oxygen and causing inefficient breathing.

Joint and muscle disorder

One of the causes of joint and muscle disorder is poor posture. Poor posture can cause pain in our face as well as earache.

Poor posture will add unwanted stress and pressure onto our body, causing pain, muscular disorders and spine problems. It doesn’t hurt for us to sit in a proper posture and a good posture will increase our productiveness and our overall well-being.

How prolonged sitting or standing may damage your back

Prolonged sitting and standing is a risk factor in development of back pain. A lack of motion will create stretching in the spinal ligaments and this will hinder fluid flow into the spinal discs, causing insufficient nutrition of the vertebral discs. In fact, prolonged sitting and standing will induce more stress to our spinal discs, ligaments and muscles as compared to other activities.

Prolonged periods of sitting down and not the position of sitting causes back pain. Our body is built in a way that it is meant for constant movements and if we do not move for even a few minutes, we will start to feel discomfort. When we sit down for long periods of time, our body’s centre of gravity is no longer on our feet but on our pelvis. Our pelvis is joining to the base of our spine and all of our body’s weight will act on our spine, causing pain and discomfort over a period of time.

Prolonged periods of standing will also damage our back. In fact, it is one of the most common and major causes of back pain. Long periods of standing will increase the effect of gravity acting on our joints and lower back. When we begin to get tired, we tend to lock our ankles and knees and this will cause our postural muscles to tense up and work to maintain a static standing position. This will obstruct the circulation of essential nutrients in our body and eventually causing a breakdown and disintegration of body tissues, especially on the spinal regions. Prolonged standing will also cause compression of our spine. Prolonged and uninterrupted periods of standing causes spinal fluids to get forced out of the intervertebral discs, causing breakdown of the cartilage and eventually resulting in the discs losing their ability to cushion and absorb shock. Stabilising ligaments and muscles will start forming stress tears and losing their lubricating abilities. In the long run, there will be a failure of one thing leading to another and the only probable indication is the loss of height.

Spinal damages is due to the accumulated results of both prolonged standing sitting and standing, both of which are extremely common in our daily lives. Our muscles are increasingly fatigued and will lead to tissue injury and disintegration. Avoid all these by posture correction and stretching before and after any activities and prolonged periods of non movement.

5 gym exercises that may hurt your spine

Regular exercise is good for our body and it lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Many people thus have the impression that all kinds of exercise are good and safe. Due to time constraints, many of us choose to work out in a gym. However, not all of the exercise machines in a gym are safe. Some gym exercises are a complete waste of time while some may hurt your spine if they are not properly done or if you have existing problems.

Squats with knee bends

Many of us bend our knees when we are doing squats. Bending our knees too deep will cause our spine to get misaligned as it is unable to maintain the proper alignment. When misalignment occurs, our pelvis will start to tilt and our lower back will take over control and this will increase the stress to our back muscles, increasing the chances of injury to our spinal discs.

Behind the head lat pull down

We often see many people doing behind the head lat pull downs in the gym. However, this is not to be performed by everyone. Only those with very flexible shoulder joints should do it and extreme care must be taken not to injure their back with the pull down bar.

Upright rows

Upright rows are done by holding a weight in the centre and placing both hands close together, bringing them up to just under your chin. However, this exercise will compress the nerves, causing issues to both the shoulders and the spine.

Hamstring stretches

While tight hamstring may contribute to back pain, improper usage of the hamstring stretching machine can contribute to spinal disc injuries. When we stretch out to touch our toes, it feels good for the hamstring but will add a huge amount of strain to our back. The entire weight of the body is weighing down onto the disc and it contributes injurious pressure to the discs and causing spine injuries.

Dead lifting

Many of us love to do free weights exercise in the gym and it can help us build wonderful muscles. However, headlining is bad for the back. Dead lifting is done when you bending over at your waist to lift a weight. Although it helps to build up strong back and leg muscles, it is straining the back and causing harm to your spinal discs.

Not all gym exercises are for everyone and not every is good for the body. If you have existing conditions, always consult a specialist before doing certain exercises in the gym. Know your limits and do not attempt to do weights that are beyond yours as you will start using other parts of your body to lift them instead.