headache from neck pain

Headaches, ‘A Pain In The Neck’?

Have you ever heard of the term ‘cervicogenic headache‘? If you were to consult the International Society for Headache Research, you would discover a category of headache known as ‘cervicogenic headache’, which essentially means a headache caused by issues in the neck and its tissues. It’s more common than most people, including doctors (but probably not chiropractors), might expect.

Chiropractors have known for nearly 100 years that the neck is a major cause of headaches. And now medical science is catching up to them.

Mr Nikolai Bogduk, a medical researcher and leading expert in the microanatomy of the human nervous system, has discovered significant overlaps between the sensory nerve pathways of the neck and the head. This discovery makes it easy for a neck problem to be felt as a headache. In fact, many headache or migraine sufferers report that their headaches start in their neck or they feel neck pain during their headache/migraine episodes. These individuals also experience more frequent neck pain than the average person, indicating a strong connection between neck pain, neck problems, and headaches. Chiropractors can help address these issues and provide relief to those suffering from cervicogenic headaches.

If you were to ask a traditional medical practitioner about headaches like migraines, they would tell you that changes in blood flow to the brain are the primary cause. While this may be true for migraines and possibly tension headaches, it is important to note that changes in blood flow could be triggered by neck issues. Research has shown that there are connections between the sensory nerve pathways of the neck and head, which means that a problem in the neck can be felt in the head. This is where a chiropractor can come into play.

As a chiropractor, I work in the pain management trenches and have found that most headache/migraine sufferers have deep knots in the muscles at the top of their neck, as well as stiffness, locking, and inflammation of the small weight-bearing joints. Additionally, many have a limited range of motion in their spinal joints. By addressing these issues, we have reduced headaches for many patients. 

So if you have been wondering whether neck problems could cause your headaches, the answer is a definite and resounding YES – and there is help available through chiropractic care.

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My Migraine Blog

My Migraine Blog


The estimated global prevalence of migraine is 14.7% (that’s around 1 in 7 people).  Migraine affects x3 as many women as men. Research implies that 3,000 migraine attacks occur a day for every million people. There are estimated to be over 190,000 migraine attacks every day in the UK alone. So you can at least be sure that if you have a migraine headache at any given moment you are far from being alone.

To a fairly large extent western medicine has shrugged its shoulders with regard to the migraine issue and understandably gone about the business of helping with things it is better at. That is unless you consider pills that relive the pain of migraine to be a satisfactory conclusion (most migraine sufferers would rather find a resolution to their problem). There is research conducted on the topic of migraine but very little relative to their prevalence. There are no massive research budgets out there for the study of migraine and headache causes, and I guarantee you  that 99% of doctors have not give the the cause of migraine much thought since well before they left medical school. You could argue that the relative effectiveness of migraine headache medications in limiting attacks justifies this relaxed attitude.

The outcome of all this indifference is what you might expect. Heaps of people with unresolved migraines. A loose general consensus that migraine headaches are something to do with blood flow to the brain, and a shortlist of pharmaceuticals that can must definitely help with an attack in most cases. To their credit your doctor may also be happy to talk to you about food trigger avoidance but that’s probably not anything you couldn’t figure out for yourself.

So the question is whether there is anything more to the treatment and understanding of migraines than a shrug and bottle of pills. So, what if you are a migraine sufferer and you aren’t happy with the outcomes your get from trigger avoidance and taking a pill when that fails? Is there anything more to the migraine headache story? And can a chiropractor help potentially?

What Really Causes Migraine

To be clear, my chiropractors version of the migraine headache story is not proven scientifically and in fact has yet to be studied scientifically either. As you will see though its not entirely chiropractor waffle – and there are some scientific foundations to the theory that make it pretty solid. In the end however, this chiropractors explanation of migraines is currently a matter of clinical experience – handed down though generations of practically minded practitioners and healers to the present day.

Migraines are caused by chronic muscles tension and soft tissue irritation in the neck!!!!

It feels good just to just to have that out here in the open doesn’t it? Feel free to say it out loud 3 times, go on see how it feels There are a percentage of you reading who kinda knew this all along, because you could feel it.

Chronic muscles tension & chronic soft tissue irritation in the scalp, jaw, neck and shoulders, that’s fundamentally what causes migraines. Now that you know this, the next questions are how? why ? and ultimately  what can we potentially do about it (with our chiropractors help).

How Does The Neck Cause Migraine?

So let’s say that the chiropractor is right about that cause of migraines, how can muscle and soft tissue tension in the scalp, jaw, neck and shoulders cause a migraine? After all – migraines are felt in the head, behind the eye and involve all sorts of strange symptoms like sensitivity to light, nausea and visual disturbances that we wouldn’t usually associate with muscle tension.

Muscle tension bad enough to cause migraines comes from 3 main sources.

    1. Old Injuries like whiplash
    2. Postural Issues
    3. Stress and suppression of emotions

As any chiropractor will tell you, old injuries in the neck can lead to chronic muscles and soft tissues issues if they don’t heal successfully.  The human neck is a delicate weight bearing column that has to support an unusually large cranium. The neck never gets a single day off in its entire lifetime of performing its supporting role for the head. The difficulty of its job and the lack of rest mean that without extensive rehab many of life’s knocks don’t recover fully.

Postural issues like those millions of people take to the chiropractors cause persistent compression of the soft tissues in the neck. The tissues in the neck are design to bear loads obviously, but like any load bearing structure the neck has its limits. If you spend year after year with stubborn postural compression playing out in your neck you can end up with ALOT of stiffness, ALOT of tension and ALOT of inflammation. It is worth knowing that like so many states of unwellness and disease in the body all this can go ‘unfelt’ for large portions of time.

Stress and suppression of emotions can generate a huge amount of pressure in the neck, scalp, jaw and shoulders over time. The tension we hold in our necks is invisible to onlookers and so normal for many of us that we don’t even register it. This type of tension can be so severe though that is can cause serious neck pain, osteoarthritis, headaches and in some people it can even wear down the hardest structure in the body.. tooth enamel. Dentists and chiropractors are both the friends of the jaw clenchers!

All the above sources of trauma and tension to the soft tissues in the neck have the potential to generate migraines. The way in which the tissues do this is much the same as the way sciatic pain can come from the lower back. Sciatic pain is felt in the back of the leg but the pain is caused deep in the lower back and pelvis.

Migraine headache pain is felt in temple and behind the eye usually but comes from the chiropractors mainstay –  inflammation of muscles and soft tissue in the neck, jaw, shoulder and scalp.

The above statement is not a wild theory. There is in fact a sound scientific basis for this theory, as researchers have found nerve pathways that may explain this mechanism of referred migraine headache pain.

Why Me?

The question of why we get migraines is tied up with the answers above. We get migraines when our muscle and soft tissues get so ‘out of whack’ that exotic pain pathways are activate in our head and neck areas.

In another sense there is a broader and deeper ‘why’ behind the migraine topic. We get migraines because some part of our wellbeing has been neglected.

You really can’t get migraines unless you have seriously neglected some aspect of your wellbeing. To be clear about this ‘neglect’ can happen completely unintentionally and unwittingly, it is often not a deliberate thing.

If you have an old injury in your neck that has not been rehabilitated it basically a form of accidental neglect of a body part that has been seriously in need of some chiropractic style TLC.

If your posture has got so bad that compression of your neck tissues has lead to migraine headaches, you have definitely neglected your bodies need for the right kind of movements. This includes allowing weakness to creep into the muscles of the upper back.

But what about if emotional stress in your neckshoulder and jaw has caused you to develop migraine headaches. Is that a form of neglect? When emotions are allowed to build up so much that they make us sick it does mean that something has been neglected. Usually that something is an ‘inner voice’ that has been trying to tell us something for a long time. Many of us are absolute masters at suppressing emotions and those of us who are best at it often get sick in one way or another. Suppressing emotions that are felt over and over is in itself just another form of neglect that ultimately does us harm.

What Can We Do About It?

The great news is that there is a lot that can be done to help the majority of migraine headache cases. Usually a process of reversing whatever neglect lead them to become a problem in the first place.

The start point on the journey is always identifying the the underlying cause of the migraines. This is usually possible to achieve within the confines of a 45 minute conversation about your history of migraines with someone who is experienced in treating them.. like the right chiropractor.

Once you know what is causing your migraines a tentative plan of management can be formed and treatment can get underway. Treatment for migraines generally involves a range of safe, non-invasive  ‘manual therapies’ for the soft tissues of the neck, jaw and shoulders.

Acupressure, neuromuscular release, scar tissue stretching, spinal manipulation, postural exercises, traction and vibration massage all have a part to play in this process. Not all migraine headache sufferers respond to the same kind of treatment so when it comes to managing them variety is definitely the spice!


The word freedom conjurs up many possible images in the mind. Often areas of life like money, relationships and travel are associated with freedom. There is a deeper layer to the topic of freedom however, one that only those who have been sick or in pain really understand.

The freedom to be able to simple stand sit or lie without pain, the freedom to choose what you want to do with your day, the freedom to be able to get through a days work in comfort. These are the most basic ingredients of a life that feels ‘free’. Living with chronic migraines headaches and any other type of persistent pain is a major box that must be ticked in order to have a lasting experience of that kind of freedom. At the deepest level of our experience being pain free is a freedom issue, and an important one at that.

To listen to this article’s audio version click below: 

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A Very Brief History Of Chiropractors

A Very Brief History Of Chiropractors


Understanding that the spine is a fundamental part of human wellness dates back to ancient Greek philosophers.

Hippocrates, an ancient Greek philosopher who’s often referred to as the father of modern medicine, stated that anyone looking to achieve health and wellness should “Get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases.”

Chiropractic care has evolved since ancient Greek times, and what was once merely observed by chiropractors is now backed by science.

Chiropractic has grown tremendously in New Zealand and has had a dramatic impact, and has been a global leader in the profession. Here’s a breakdown of some of the milestones in the timeline of chiropractors’ care of people:


Daniel David Palmer commences practice as a “chiropractor.” after he adjusts the spine of a deaf janitor and observes vast improvements in his condition.


Daniel David Palmer opens the first chiropractic educational institution to train others in the field. 


U.S. states have begun to recognize and license the practice of chiropractic, with Kansas being the first. Louisiana was the last state in 1974.


The first trained Chiropractic, Dr Henry Otterholt, arrived in Dunedin, New Zealand. Tom Giles has already been practising in New Zealand since 1910 and soon goes abroad for training. 


The New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association is established.


Canada also introduced licenced practises. Alberta is the first and Ontario follows in 1925. Newfoundland was the last province, in 1992.


As chiropractors practise grows, the U.S. Council of State Chiropractic Examining Boards is established to help regulate and provide unified standards for licensure..


Chiropractic practise spreads outside North America and The Canton of Zurich, Switzerland, becomes the first jurisdiction outside North America to license the practice of chiropractic.


The Foundation for Chiropractors Education and Research (FCER) is established and becomes the profession’s foremost agency for funding of postgraduate scholarship and research.


New Zealand passes the Chiropractors Act. New Zealand was the first country to have established legislation to govern the chiropractic profession. 


The U.S. Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) is recognized by the federal government as the accrediting agency for schools of chiropractic. This leads to the development of affiliated agencies in Australasia, Canada, Europe and most recently Latin America.


A stand out point not just in New Zealand, but globally was The Royal Commission of Inquiry into the chiropractic profession.


This was to assess the merits of having chiropractors treatments subsidised by the government and funded by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) This was the first government commission to adopt a full judicial procedure, hearing evidence on oath and subject to cross-examination when examining patients, chiropractors, medical doctors and others on the role of the chiropractic profession. 


A lawsuit against the American Medical Association (known as Wilk vs American Medical Association) rules against the American Medical Association. It was found that the American Medical Association actively attempted to discredit the practise of chiropractic. A primary method to achieve this goal was to make it unethical for medical physicians to professionally associate with chiropractors.


This ruling opens the way for much greater cooperation between medical and chiropractic doctors in education, research and practice in the U.S. and, as a result, internationally.


World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) is formed. The WFC, whose members are national associations of chiropractors in over 85 countries, is admitted into official relations with the World Health Organization (WHO) as a non-governmental organization or NGO in January 1997.


The Manga Report in Canada, the first government-commissioned report by health economists looking at the cost-effectiveness of chiropractors services.

The report recommends that chiropractors have a key role in managing back pain patients as it’s cost effective, safe and enjoyed by patients. 


Government-sponsored expert panels developing evidence-based guidelines for the management of patients with back pain in the U.S. (Agency for Health Care Policy and Research) and the U.K. (Clinical Standards Advisory Group) provide the first authoritative reports that manipulation is a proven and preferred treatment approach for most acute low-back pain patients.


U.S. government begins official funding support for an ongoing agenda for chiropractic research through the National Institutes of Health.


The first year in which there were more chiropractic schools outside the United States (17) than in the United States (16). By 2007 there were 23 recognized schools outside the United States, most recently schools in Japan, Malaysia and Spain (2007).


WHO publishes the WHO Guidelines on Basic Training and Safety in Chiropractic, recommending educational standards for the recognition and regulation of chiropractic services in all member countries. By 2009 these are printed in Arabic, Chinese, English, Finnish, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish.

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neck pain

5 Signs Your Neck Issues May Be Caused By Scar Tissue

5 Signs Your Neck Problems May Be Caused By Scar Tissue

neck pain

Many of us have scar tissue in our necks without realising it – scar tissue is a far bigger topic than most of us realise. Scar tissue can build up after an injury – but it can also build up slowly over time due to issues like bad posture.

Research has shown that there are nerve pathways in your brain stem that can’t always tell where pain is coming from. These pathways will often report a headache when the problem is really tension, inflammation and scar tissue in the neck.

Persistent Tightness
It’s pretty obvious that muscle tension can cause tightness in the neck. It’s a common side effect of stress and desk work, the muscles tighten and they limit motion of the bones. A lesser known but major cause of stubborn neck tightness is scar tissue like fibrous change deep in the neck. This can come through injury or just years of poor posture.

Pressure Sensitivity
If the tissues in your neck are chronically compressed by tension & scar tissue you can develop what is known as ‘hyperalgesia’, this is when the tissue develop heightened sensitivity to touch. For people with this even the slightest touch can feel like being jabbed really hard in the neck and shoulder region. Not a nice way to be.

Neck pain is one of the most common symptoms that we humans suffer with and require treatment for. The majority of neck issues are caused by stress, poor posture and old injuries. Any of the above can leave a legacy of scar tissue in the neck. Once this has built up the soft tissues of the neck lose their elasticity and neck pain often becomes an intermittent or even persistent issue.

A Neck Crease
If we hold tension in our necks and/or have poor posture over an extended period of time we can build up scar tissues and shortened muscles groups. In particularly bad cases and in particularly bad moments this can be seen as a skin crease across the back of the neck.

So there you have it – 5 signs you might have scar tissue in your neck that is a part of the reason for your neck problems – or even headaches. The good news is that if you word with the right chiropractor and the right tools there is every chance you can find a way to lead a life with less neck pain.
Call City Chiropractic now on 04 385 6446 to make an appointment now!

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3 Potential Benefits Of Wearing Custom Orthotics

3 Potential Benefits Of Wearing Custom Orthotics

custom orthotics

Data from the US estimates that they spend 1.2 billion dollars per year on orthotics. With this many people using orthotics there must be a range of benefits to their use, but what are the main ones?

Well, there are a huge number of specific benefits that people report once they start wearing orthotics that range from improvements in pain from plantar fasciitis to bursitis and even osteoarthritis.

We live in a time where there is an epidemic of lower body pain in the developed world. If we were to combine the social impact of all the back pain, hip pain, knee pain, ankle pain, foot pain and lower body osteoarthritis we would see that it is a modern healthcare disaster.

We live far longer lives than our ancestors did and we do so on extremely hard unnatural surfaces. Concrete, tarmac and paving stones put horrendous amounts of strain on the soft tissues in the lower body. The flatness of our urban and domestic surfaces also contributes to the problem because it requires no balance, our stabilising muscles don’t get the kind of workout nature imposes on them.

We are probably less than 70% less active than our great grandparents were as of now, they lead far more physical lives on average. Who knows how we stack up against our hunter gatherer ancestors… not great is the broad answer. This inactivity leads to weakness and the weakness leads to pain.

The Benefits Of Wearing Custom Orthotics

There are 3 basic mechanisms that form the basis of all the more tangible and specific help with symptoms that foot orthotics offer.

1- Orthotics Reduce Strain in the Foot & Ankle Joints

As a species we simply did not evolve to walk on hard flat surfaces…admittedly we did not evolve to use orthotics or shoes either, so there is no getting around these facts.

Your ancestors walked on soft, uneven ground with a constantly shifting incline and camber. Orthotics take strain off the ankle and foot joints by mimicking some of the qualities of natural terrain.

If you picture walking along the beach in bare feet, no shoes and no orthotics. Consider the range of textures depending on the wetness of the sand, consider the shifting angle depending on whether there are dunes and how fast the tide went out.

Now picture barefoot in the forest. The terrain changes constantly in many forests, that leaf litter squashes up under your arch, you have to walk along fallen limbs.

Now consider walking to work in the city. Complete hard flat homogeneous terrain, the occasional flight of stairs where each step is completely flat also. Try to picture how much more movement there would have been in your feet, and how much more support they would have had from surfaces that hug the contour of the foot.

The hard flat terrain causes huge amount of stress in the ankle joint because there is no shock absorption. Orthotics provide shock absorption and bring that stresses in the ankle joint down to slightly more normal levels.

Hard flat urban terrain does not hug the sole of the foot the same way that the majority of natural surfaces do, Orthotics make up for this by hugging the foot and providing a contoured ‘base’ for the arch.

2- Orthotics Reduce Strain in the Knee Joints

People who specialise in the study of human bones down the ages can easily spot the ‘evolutionary moment’ where we started walking upright full time just by looking at leg bones.

The ‘moment’ we started walking upright full time our knee joints essentially doubled in size due to the fact that the massive increase in stress and strain that caused. This is probably the best illustration of what our knees go through and what it means for the skeleton I can offer you. The transition from hunting on all 4’s to walking upright was a mammoth task in more ways than one for the human knee joint.

By supporting the arch orthotics reduce ‘torsional stress’ in the knee joint because the knee twists inwards if the arch drops.

By providing control to the position of the calcaneus (heel bone) orthotics can also help prevent with the slight collapse that happens in the knees of people with flat feet who live on hard flat surfaces. These reductions in small but persistent unnatural movements during weight bearing are the basis of all the benefits that Orthotics provide to the hard working human knee.

3- Orthotics reduce strain in the hip & pelvic tissues.

The hip and its associated muscles play a key role in maintaining foot alignment during weight bearing activities. When the arch collapses there are ‘internal rotations’ of the hip joint. The hip and the associated hips muscles have no issues with a moderate amount of internal rotation at the hip joint during weight bearing but like so many things too much is not healthy and the body can struggle to cope.

The hip and gluteal muscles play such a massive role in preventing the arch from collapsing under your body weight that if they can become the first area to experience pain in many people who are struggling with a need for custom orthotics. People who experience tight, sore hips and ‘lower backs’ after long walks and runs are just starting to notice the first signs that their hips are struggling with foot alignment.

So there you have it – 3 of the many potential benefits that may come from caring for your feet with custom orthotics.

So there you have it – 3 of the many potential benefits that may come from caring for your feet with custom orthotics.

Give City Chiropractic a call on 04 385 6446 to make an appointment now!

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5 Surprising Chiropractor Facts

5 Surprising Chiropractor Facts

chiropractor neck adjustment

1- A Chiropractors Official Title Is Doctor

The NZ Commission of Inquiry into the chiropractic profession was a global landmark study carried out in the late 1970’s.

It was initiated due to concerns raised on the part of the medical profession – about chiropractic quackery on the part of the medical profession. 

The outcome of the enquiry set the gold standard for chiropractic legislation across the developed world.

The commission concluded based on the level of education chiropractors receive that chiropractors are entitled to use the title – doctor.

It also concluded that it was in the public’s interest that chiropractors and the chiropractic profession be embraced by the mainstream healthcare system, which incidentally has already become the case in the UK.

Sadly, for the NZ public – for reasons that are not clear this has still not happened over 30 years later.

Chiropractors are not doctors in the medical /pills/prostate examination sense.

They are doctors in their own sense.

They are qualified to diagnose and treat disorders of the neuro-musculoskeletal system… in the same sense that a dentist is qualified to diagnose and treat disorders of the teeth, gums and jaw.

2- Chiropractors Treat Ankle Sprains

The traditional way of doing dentistry was to identify painful little holes in teeth and then pull the whole tooth out.

In a far less invasive but similarly basic sense the traditional way of doing chiropractic was to sniff out locked spinal bones – and manipulate them back to full mobility.

Both the dental profession and chiropractors have evolved somewhat since their more simplistic and 1 dimensional beginnings.

Chiropractors now embrace a broad ‘scope of practice’ which includes the management of a broad range of complaints and techniques. 

Some chiropractors’ practices consist of as little as 25% pure chiropractic technique and complaints.

The rest of what they do is a broad and flexible approach to pain management that merges chiropractic tools with techniques most people would associate with physiotherapy, acupuncture, fitness coaching and osteopathy. This includes managing a million sprained ankles.

3 -Chiropractic Isn’t Neck Cracking

Most healing professions start off with a fairly basic methodology or tool and expand their scope over time.

If you took a peek at what surgeons were doing in Victorian times and then compared it what they can do now you would most likely be a little shocked and amazed. 

When surgeons founded their profession, they were essentially in the business of cutting peoples legs and arms off with no anesthetic and no hand or knife washing between patients.

In far less horrifying but similar terms chiropractors started off with some simple procedures and have expanded their scope of practice over time.

The original chiropractic intervention was the mobilisation of a spinal bone which gave an audible pop as it released. 

But chiropractic is a profession not a procedure – spinal manipulation is something that chiropractors sometimes do.

Chiropractic is a set of principles, theories and beliefs about pain and the spine which has given rise to many different techniques and tools.

4 – Chiropractors Aren’t Alternative

Spinal manipulation is now an absolutely Bonafide treatment for lower back pain and it is part of international guidelines for the management of lower back pain.

Chiropractic is a fully regulated healthcare profession who’s practitioners receive more basic training in the combined sciences of spinal pain, neurology and biomechanics than any other discipline.

Chiropractors have the same fundamental legal standing as doctors and dentists, they are primary healthcare providers. What is alternative about that?

5 – Chiropractors Didn’t Invent Spinal Manipulation

The oldest record of spinal manipulation being used to treat a patient is on 3000-year-old Egyptian papyrus.

Bonesetters are known to have practiced spinal manipulation across many cultures, for untold millennia.

Daniel Palmer was a visionary who founded the chiropractic profession a century ago.

Palmer had noted that spinal manipulation was an age old tool and became interested in developing theories around how it might work.

Palmer subsequently began testing and experimenting with spinal manipulation to great effect.

Palmer’s primary legacy though was the development of a healthcare profession with modern education standards built around the art and science of spinal manipulation. He did not invent spinal manipulations though… far from it.

Give us a call at City Chiropractic on 04 385 6446 to make an appointment now.

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Is Chiropractic Legit Healthcare

Is Chiropractic Legit Healthcare?

chiropractors are legitimate

A profession that has made a significant contribution to legitimate scientific knowledge of its own area of speciality can consider itself a ‘grown up’ in the eyes of the law –  and in the eyes of modern medicine.

If you go back to the 1980s there was barely even the beginnings of such research from chiropractors, and the chiropractic profession.

At that time there were in fact only three chiropractors in the world with PhDs – Drs S. Haldeman and R. Phillips in the US –  and Dr L Giles in Australia.

There was not a single ‘medical specialty text on radiology, orthopaedics, paediatrics or sports chiropractic published by a chiropractor anywhere… but this wasn’t because there was a lack of knowledge among chiropractors.

Back then medical journals absolutely refused to publish – or even consider reading studies submitted by chiropractors.

When Dr Howie Vernon submitted results of a controlled trial to the journal Manual Medicine in 1984 the editor returned it with a short response that the journal did not accept studies undertaken by chiropractors.

To say that a lot has changed would be an understatement. The chiropractic profession has undergone a gigantic increase in its research capacity and has made a substantial contribution to the global understanding of pain management.

In Denmark alone 27 chiropractors hold PhDs and lead the world in generating chiropractic specific research data.

Canada also leads the world in Chiropractic scholarship because at present most large universities in Canada have a Chiropractic Research Chair, and there are chiropractors with PhDs on the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto alone.

If we look at the international healthcare guidelines for managing back pain we see ‘Spinal Manipulation’ is right up around the top of the list of recommended intervention.

This is because of the hard work done by chiropractic researchers to validate what chiropractors do in their clinics.

The law has spoken globally on whether chiropractic is legit – chiropractic now being deemed Primary Healthcare in virtually all developed countries.

This means that government legislation looks at chiropractic the same way it looks at your dentist and your GP. And believe it or not it was NZ who blazed this trail of legally validating chiropractic globally.

So next time you are at a dinner party and someone is dissing chiropractors for being quacks ask them why the international MEDICAL guidelines for managing back pain have Spinal Manipulation right up the top of the list?

And if they don’t believe it refer them to government legislation on chiropractic for clarification.

In most cases it will be the first time they have even considered researching the topic they deem themselves qualified to speak on.

Give us a call at City Chiropractic on 04 385 6446 now to make your appointment.

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5 Times You Should Call Your Chiropractor – That You May Not Have Considered

5 Times You Should Call Your Chiropractor – That You May Not Have Considered

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For the most part we associate chiropractors treatments with neck pain and back pain. But the truth is that the spine is an internal organ that regulates the bodies processes – so are there any other conditions that might be made easier by checking in with your chiropractor?


Headaches are no fun! Like any game, the headaches game has levels. Some of us have mild tension type headaches that are easily managed with some Panadol, annoying but not exactly the end of the world. For others their headache is a skull splitting migraine that puts them out of the work force for 2 days out of every month, really bad!

Chiropractors have the necessary training and skills to correctly diagnose your headache in most instances and quite possible also offer some relief. Many headaches are caused in part by muscle tension and joint inflammation in the top of the neck and in the jaw. By releasing tension in the neck and jaw chiropractors can sometimes help a great deal, even with severe migraines and the like.

Sciatic Pain 

One of the worst complaints that chiropractors deal with on a regular basis is sciatica or sciatic pain. There is a common misconception that sciatic pain always comes from a disc. The truth is however far more complex than that. Sciatic pain is in technical terms ‘pain in the sciatic region’ (down the back of the leg) and it has many possible causes.

Your chiropractor should be able to give you a very clear idea of what the most likely cause of your sciatic pain is. Sometimes this will require further tests to be ordered but often a physical exam is enough to confirm the most probable cause. If you are one of the lucky ones your sciatic pain will be coming from muscle tension in the back of your pelvis, this type of sciatic pain is very common and can be managed by your chiropractor.

Shoulder Pain

The shoulder is an amazingly complex mechanism. Unlike most ‘joints’ the shoulder is actually an amalgamation of different joints and tissues. Depending on your perspective you could say that there are anywhere from 4-10 joints involved in elevation of the arm, and that’s before we start on the army of muscles that are involved.

Your chiropractors expert knowledge of musculoskeletal pain should make it relatively easy to diagnose your shoulder pain in most cases. One of the secrets to successfully rehabilitating shoulder pain in most cases is knowing that the ribs are generally involved. Even in standard rotator cuff pain cases, mobilisation of the ribs is often the key to reducing pinching of the rotator cuff. Chiropractors are experts at joint mobilisation. 


Hayfever will never kill you, but for some it can make them wish that they were dead. Like most complaints intensity is what drives how unhappy they make us and hayfever is no exception. The truth is about hayfever that most people are fairly happy to just put up with it or pop a pill once a day.

For those who are being made really miserable by their hayfever there is an alternative perspective that their chiropractor can offer.

People with hayfever definitely have a genetic disposition towards reacting to things like pollen. A chiropractors perspective is that in order for this genetic potential to be fully realised as full blown hayfever you have to have problems with sinus drainage. Mobilisation of the bones in the neck and skull in a way that promotes drainage is one way that you may find your hayfever can be be dramatically improved. 


Sleep is so important isn’t it! You can go way longer without food than you can without sleep. Whatever sleep really is we still don’t know, but we know it’s super vital stuff for a healthy life. Studies on sleep indicate that it is a key part of the wellbeing of our brain but also the whole body.

There are many possible causes of insomnia and in truth most of them are not issues that you chiropractor is trained to help you with. There are however certain instances where your chiropractors may be able to help you a great deal. That’s because there are certain instances where insomnia can be caused or at least greatly worsened by tension in the neck. 

So there you have it – the body is complex and there are many ways in which we may benefit from having its mechanics working a little better. And its the improvement of the body’s mechanics that gets chiropractors get out of bed in the morning!!

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A Fresh Look At Chiropractic Treatment.

Humans have been manipulating each others spines to relieve pain and other symptoms for literally thousands of years. There are pieces of Egyptian papyrus that describe the administration of chiropractor style spinal manipulation. Bonesetters and ‘lay healers’ have a long tradition of manipulating the spine.

It is worth remembering that hospitals and doctors are essentially a brand new thing (less than 350 years old) – thousands of years before that though there were already healers – not all of whom had bones in their noses and crystals in their belly buttons. It’s a little presumptuous of modern medicine to operate on the assumption that all that preceded it was 150,000 years of placebo.

Like hospitals and doctors, chiropractors are a more recent development. A clever and charsimatic man with a great beard – Daniel Palmer was the first chiropractor. Palmer merged the tradition of spinal manipulation with a modern understanding of human anatomy and birthed the modern chiropractic profession. Much in the same way as modern surgeons merged the long standing tradition for humans cutting off each others limbs with deeper understanding of the body – to created modern surgery. If you follow there breadcrumbs most healing disciplines have their roots in our distant past!!

The basic intention behind chiropractic is to re-mobilise areas of the spine which have become stuck or locked and are causing pain. Daniel Palmer the first chiropractor took this one step further and theorised that these stuck areas within the spine can make a person unwell – due to the importance of spinal nerve traffic and the fact that the spine is very much an internal organ system. Whether its true that the spine can make you sick or not is a chiropractic conversation for another day – nonetheless it is a core part of the chiropractors professional genesis story.

It goes without saying that manipulation of the spine is what chiropactors are most known for. And after many long hard years of being misunderstood and often maligned by medical doctors and members of the general public chiropractors are now a fully stablished primary healthcare profession. And spinal manipulation is now a key feature in the international guidelines for the management of back pain.

But is there any more to the story of the chiropractic profession than that??

Purists Are Still Everywhere – But Going Out Of Fashion

If you keep your eyes peeled for them, you will meet a lot of purists as you navigate the world of wellness and healthcare. Purists are those who have fallen in love with a single theory, method or concept and are promoting it to the exclusion of all others.

Medical purists promote pharmaceuticals and surgery to the exclusion of all else. Nutrition purists tell us you can heal everything with food. Yoga purists tell us we can stretch and meditate all of our problems away. And chiropractic purists believe that if you can get the spine right you can achieve perfect health, enlightenment  and possibly even world peace. None of which are actually true.

Life is complex. Health is complex. Healing is complex. No single health paradigm will ever be all things to all people at all stages of every life. But many have tried – none more than mainstream medicine. But in their own low key (relative to medicine) way chiropractors have also been extensively guilty of this same puritanical thinking.


The purist thing is an easy one to fall into when you are part of a healing paradigm that possesses great power to help others. If you look at what the modern medical fraternity have achieved in the past 300 years,  it’s totally understandable that at some point they made the scary step of self anointing as the paradigm in sole charge of ‘health truths’. The simple fact is however that having great success with childhood illnesses in the 1800’s and great success with cancer treatment in the 2000’s doesn’t mean you know all there is to know about health, disease and healing. And medicines failures in managing modern issues like pain and obesity are graphic proof of this fact. Please understand that I am not bashing medicine here – all professions and paradigms have their limitations – and there is no shame or fault in that.

The chiropractor purist fell into a similar snare as the medical purist. The successes of chiropractic over-inflated its value in the minds of chiropractors.

During the 20th century chiropractors swooped in and saved the day for countless millions of people who were suffering with terrible pain and had been failed by the mainstream paradigm. Going from complete professional obscurity to being a fully emancipated primary healthcare profession – second only to medicine and dentistry – all based on real world results and not politics. Not only all this but chiropractors got to see a vast array of other issues resolve as peoples spinal issues resolved – issues like migraine, sinus issues, constipations, insomnia, asthma and ear infections. And just like medicine all these successes went to our collective head.

As a result of combining his experiences with oversimplification, ego and confirmation bias the chiropractor decided that ‘the spine is the key to health’ – and ‘chiropractic is the key to spinal health’. Chiropractors also began telling themselves that chiropractic is a comprehensive pain management tool – which isn’t entirely true. In exactly the same way that medicine decided that invasive surgery and drug therapies are the key to health – chirorpactros decided the spine was the key to health. Both professions have been victims of their own success.

There is a great deal of truth and value in what medicine can do for us, especially when we are in deep trouble. There is also a great deal of truth and value in what chiropractors can do for us – especially when we are in pain. But a truly open minded and clear headed look at the broader truths are that doctors and chiropractors have a long history over-emphasising the value and applications of the tools there have in their toolkits.

But what does chiropractic look like once you have taken off the rose tinted specs and tried to integrate it with some broader perspectives on pain and wellbeing?

A Modern Take On Chiropractors

Once upon a time a dentist was someone who pulled your tooth out – and that was what it was. But, modern dentistry is an entirely more nuanced and holistic affair right? The modern dentist has literally hundreds of procedures and tools at her disposal – she can rescue teeth – she can replace teeth – she can straighten teeth – she can educate you about prevention of tooth decay.

Comparatively –  the prototypical chiropractor used spinal manipulation as his sole therapeutic intervention – just like the dentist used extraction as her sole therapy. And due to the fact that chiropractors haven’t been around for anywhere near as long as dentists there are still quite a few who adhere to these old ways.

Is there a version of the chiropractor that is more like the modern dentist? A non-purist with a broader scope of theories and tools? Yup!!!There are a growing number of chiropractors who are more than willing to engage with the job of being a chiropractor in a similar way to the modern dentist.

At my clinic for example we use the traditional adjusting tools and techniques of a chiropractors office, but we also use acupuncture – dry needling – acupressure – myofascial release – percussion massage – myofascial cupping – trigger point release, scar tissue stretching – Graston technique – extracorporeal shockwave therapy – mobiliser machines – rehabilitation exercise – custom orthotics prescription. We are happy to treat traditional chiropractors fare like neck painback pain, sciatic pain and headaches – but we also treat sprained ankles – RSI – knee pain – tennis elbow and plantar fasciitis, among others.

So, while the traditional chiropractic approach is still an excellent form of healthcare in its own right, we have found that merging the chiropractic toolkit with other tools from the wide world of pain management has enabled us to move not only the profession forward, but our patients lives forward. This has been our experience at least, and we believe that it is part of a growing trend within the chiropractic profession.

The Future Of Chiropractic

The future of chiropractic and chiropractors practice will most likely become more and more integrated and diverse in its scope – much the same way as dentistry has done.

Unfortunately the wider cultural embrace of chiropractic is slower than it ought to be, due to a raft of old wives tales and urban myths about the safety and effectiveness of chiropractic – so it is slow going. But at least we can say that chiropactic is a fully realised modern healthcare profession – with a strong educational and legislative foundation.

As people continue to empower themselves with the information that is now literally at their finger tips, more and more patients will navigate the maze of urban mythery and inter-professional misunderstandings and find their way to chiropractors offices where they can receive higher and higher quality care from a profession who specialise not only in ‘back cracking’ but pain management.

We may even reach a point where chiropractors and the medical profession reach an understanding. Chiropractic is a part of the ACC system in NZ and has become available within the NHS public health system in the UK – which makes it fundamentally mainstream in the eyes of government at least. Maybe family doctors will come around to governmental thinking on the chiropractic topic eventually eh.

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