In a slump...Is it time to stand tall and stop your mum from nagging you?

Good Posture...I know, I can feel how bored you are already. I don't blame you. Can you even count how many times you have been nit picked about slouching? 

And why the hell should you care right? I mean, who cares that you slump a little? Plus, its so hard to stop doing! You try so hard to be upright when you first get to your computer but sure enough, 2 hours later you find yourself leaning into the screen of your computer with your shoulders hanging from your ears and a back hunch that would make Mr. Burns envious. 

A man displaying woeful need of nagging

A man displaying woeful need of nagging

As a Chiropractor, 2 things happen often in my life. 

The first is that at almost every time I am introduced to a person or group, most people instinctively straighten their backs and sit or stand taller, as if they all instinctively know that 'Good Posture' is important (even if we don't know why) and that its something we only think about when prompted to (even though we know deep down that our posture isn't great in the first place)

The second is that poor posture is one of the leading causes the issues that we see in our practice every day!  

Low back, neck pain, jaw pain, shoulder injury, predisposition to spinal degeneration, carpal tunnel type symptoms, migraines and tension headaches are some of the most common symptoms we see day in and day out and it doesn't take much Googling to find that a lot of these problems are either caused by, or at the least made worse by, poor posture. 

So, how does having bad posture lead to these issues? 

The answer is actually really simple and its actually a major part of understanding what we do as chiropractors:

Nervous system feedback and the body’s position in space

"The deeper layers of muscle are concerned with ‘sensing’ our position in space and relaying this information to the brain. If this function is taken over by muscles... (As a result) the brain gets an incomplete picture. The brain assumes that the body needs to be propped up to counteract the effects of gravity, so it triggers further muscle contraction. This adds to the general fatigue and pain felt by the person with poor posture." - The Victorian Government's better health website 

The issues with poor posture appear to go beyond just the physical mechanics as well! 

If I told you to imitate a person who is stressed out, anxious or depressed, I bet you would tighten and slightly raise your shoulders, pushing your head forward and making you shorter. Sound familiar? 

Some authors discuss that consistently being in this position might actually lead to deepened depression, increases in perceived stress, circulation issues, as well as negatively affecting digestion, breathing mechanics and the we way we are perceived by ourselves and others!

So what can we do about it? Well I'm here to tell you that dealing with posture is both simple AND challenging. 

Simple in that there are very basic ways that we can start to work on and improve how our body holds itself, yet challenging in that as Australian's, we are sitting or lying down for an average of 23 hours and 47 minutes, so we have a lot practice at bad posture to try and work against!

Over the space of a few more blog posts, I am hoping to talk you through some strategies to start tackling this problem, but until then, if you have any questions, or if yourself or someone close to you needs help getting out of their slump, please do not hesitate to contact us at Align on (03) 9696 1057.




Are migraines getting you down?

If you get migraines you know it is WAY more than just a bad headache!

Over the 25 plus years that I have been taking care of people with migraines I have noticed that they often have other problems. One of the most common is that they have also had challenges with anxiety or depression.

So I was really interested to read a recent (it was published yesterday so when I say recent I mean recent!) research article that was published in the prestigious medical journal “Headache”.



The study looked at 588 people who get migraines. The researchers looked at a number of factors but the most interesting one (for me anyway) was that they looked at the people’s scores for depression and anxiety relative to how frequently they had migraines.

So what did they find?

Not surprisingly they found that the people who got more frequent migraines correlated with higher scores for depression and anxiety.

The small print! This study is a correlation study - it doesn’t show causation. We don't know whether having more migraines caused them to be more anxious or depressed, whether the relationship is the reverse or if there is some other explanation! If you want to learn more about correlation vs causation (and have a laugh at the same time!) check out this article.

If you have migraines and want to see if we can help please call 03 9696 1057.
Our chiropractors have years of experience and a special interest in taking care or people who get migraines.

Walking for exercise?



As chiropractors we get asked about exercise a lot. People are looking for the most 'bang for their buck' so to speak to get the highest impact for their life for the smallest investment in time and energy. 


The reality is, there is no magic bullet for every one. Each of us have different strengths, needs and capabilities. 


What IS clear, is that our bodies are better with exercise. It makes us healthier, feel better and improves our quality of life. 


Usually when asked “what sort of exercise should I be doing?”, at Align we will answer with: “what do you like to do?”. The improvements to your health from exercise are dosage dependent, i.e. the more you do, the better the outcome, so to us, the best place to start is by assessing, what is it that you enjoy doing the most? 


If you’re anything like most people (ourselves included) if you don’t LIKE the exercise you’re trying to do, you’ll find nearly any excuse to not go and do it, so just pick ANY physical activity you enjoy and get out to do it.


The other mistake clients tend to make is thinking that simple exercises aren’t “enough” to bother working at. The classic example being walking. People often think that because its so slow and relatively low intensity, not to mention, free and available any time you feel like exercising, that it won’t give them enough return on their investment of time and energy and therefore they don’t make time to do it. 


Personally, I believe that you should NEVER underestimate the power of walking. This recent article by the ABC discusses walking as exercise and I think covers the topic quite well. Granted, its not the most efficient way to build muscle, flexibility or cardio, if you walk consistently you will find improvements in all of these areas, as well as significant improvements in cardiovascular health, decreased risk of diabetes and can improve stress levels as well. 


In my life I have found walking to be a ‘gateway’ exercise, the more of it I have done, the more I feel like its what I want to do, even going as far as inspiring me to try other more intense exercise, literally proving to me that I had to walk before I could run.



Keeping it Festive

Keeping it Festive



Every year the festive season seems to start earlier and get more and more involved. And as with anything in life, failing to prepare means preparing to fail. So with all the silliness of the season about to hit us all, it’s time to take a moment to prepare for the onslaught of parties, socialising, work deadlines, kids’ holidays, and Christmas shopping. 

If we’re going to make it through successfully and most importantly, get to the other side having enjoyed it all, it’s paramount to remember one very important thing: Ourselves. 

It might sound selfish to focus on yourself but it’s not. Remember, there is nothing heroic about being the most run down and stressed out version of you. After all, it’s the festive season; a season to come together, express gratitude, share love and be the BEST version of YOU! 

Remember, you can't pour from an empty cup. 

So how can you stay on top of things yet still take on everything you have to over the next few weeks? 

Glad you asked!

The first step is to MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF.

Don’t worry though, it may be a lot less time than you think. More and more people are finding meditation doesn’t just fit into their work day, it actually MAKES it, as “regular practice helps combat stress, improves focus and increases resilience.

If you're like me and you feel you can never shut off completely, try a guided meditation app like Smiling Mind. The app allows you to choose how long to meditate for AND help quieten down your brain chatter. 

If meditation isn't your thing, why not try something simple like turning off technology for an hour or walking around on grass or the beach without shoes? It can even be as simple as attempting to drink a cup of tea or coffee in silence. It’s really all about taking time for yourself, even if only in small amounts. 

In my opinion though, the most important thing you can do to improve your overall wellbeing at this busy time is to re-frame the stress you’re feeling. As let’s face it, its seemingly impossible to avoid being busy at the moment, much less avoid the concept of being stressed! 

We touched on this topic a few months ago on this same blog, but if you missed it, there is a brilliant Ted Talk about making stress your friend, you can watch the video here. It’s well worth the 15minutes!

Failing all this, we suggest you re-watch Love Actually. Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson AND Liam Neeson? How can that NOT de stress you?

If you have any other questions about making the most of your time towards the end of the year or if there is anything else we can help with, please don't hesitate to call us at Align.


Festive Sandman, 

Festive Sandman, 

The most exciting thing to happen for Low back pain sufferers in YEARS!

We cannot get enough of this headline. It seems like every few weeks in the media there is some big expose’ espousing the latest and best way to deal with low back pain. Yet, if this is true, why is it still such a huge problem for more than 3 million Australians? In fact according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, in Australia, low back pain is MORE prevalent than on average world wide.

Take into account how many days we lose from our lives, our work and our families due to pain and we have a massive…well…pain in the butt on our hands.

The most important metric that these stats don't cover though is simply that, there really is nothing that makes you feel older than back pain. 

Thats why we keep seeing these headlines about the latest breakthrough or Low back pain’s silver bullet, we are all hoping for that easy, uncomplicated and virtually instant relief.  


Unfortunately, reality is rarely that fast acting and the human body is NEVER that simple. Back pain has different causes, some have different outcomes, different tissues can be injured and each of us individually can have our own individual needs when it comes to healing and moving beyond back pain. 

That’s why there can’t be a ‘one size fits all’ approach to low back pain. The sad truth is that there is no sexy silver bullet treatment approach, rather each person and their situation needs to be assessed separately and managed accordingly. 

Does this person need deep tissue massage? If so, should they get myotherapy or see a Sports Massage therapist? 

Would they be better cared for utilising pilates immediately, or should other work be done with them before putting their damaged tissues through core exercise work? 

Whether you have an acute injury, a ruptured disk, you feel like you would like another option than pain medication or you have been suffering from chronic low back dysfunction, our approach at Align is simple. 

We see people with back pain day in and day out, so we are confident that from our first visit we will know if you are in the right place to get on top of your issue, or if not, who do you need to see instead. 

It may not be immediate. It may not make a great headline but in the end we think its exciting, see the right person, with the right approach and the right plan = better outcomes for back pain.


Take the Headache out of dealing with a Headache

Understanding your individual headache can be difficult, so you need a subtle, thorough and educated approach. We see people with head pain, headaches and dizziness every day in practice and often we can help. 

There are certain types of headache however that really aren’t our forte or require a different, sometimes medical approach, this is why chiropractors spend 5 years at university and are primary contact practitioners in Australia, we need to be able to not only know what is going on with your headache to know if we can help but just as importantly, know that if we can help, where you need to be.  


Virtually everyone gets them. Its so common that a lot of us actually find it weird when we meet someone who DOESN’T get them. 

In Australia we start early. Studies have shown that by their mid teens, 57-82% of children suffer headache. Scarily, headache is listed as one of the main reasons a child will miss school, leading to concerns about a child’s ability to take part as fully as they should both educationally AND socially. 

With adults, rates are suspected to be even HIGHER, as some sources suggest that in Australia, the most likely group of people to report headaches are aged between 25-44 years. Add to that the fact that women suffer from headaches more frequently than men and that’s a huge amount of us facing headaches every day.

Those stats don't tell the whole picture though, alone lists at least 36 different types of headache ranging from the very mundane such as dehydration and ice-cream headaches, to the much more scary and un-appealing. Confusing the matter for the average sufferer is the fact that virtually all of these different types of headaches have their own signatures and causes, requiring different approaches to deal with them. Not everything is as easy to deal with as a dehydration headache. 

Headaches are annoying but they don't have to rule your life. If you want to decrease your chances of getting headaches, lifestyle can play an important role. Not smoking, cutting back on drinking, sleeping regularly and well, eating more appropriately and especially getting daily exercise are likely to have a large effect on your chances of attack.


If you are looking to make a bigger impact than just decreasing your or your family and friends likelihood of headache and want to find out “What type of headache do I have?” “Why?” and (to me most importantly) “How do I get on top of it?” then feel free to contact us at Align. 


'Don't worry be happy' or 'Make stress your friend'?

One of the most significant triggers for tension type headaches and migraines is psychological stress. Ongoing stress is also a predictor of how well people recover with back and neck pain. So is the answer to “don’t worry be happy?” "Just cut out stress", "You need to take more stress out of your life" or the always ridiculous: "You need to stop work or make it less stressful". Or my personal favourite, "Just don't let yourself feel so stressed"

But what happens if you CANT just let it go so easily? Or you haven't won tattslotto and you have to keep working to be able to live?

Well there is a possibility that decreasing stress might not be all that important anyway. What IS important is how you look at it.

We all have stress in one form or another and for most of us its actually SO constant that we may not even realise that we have it.

New research suggests that if you view your stress response as being your body's way of helping you out of a tough spot, rather than something that makes your life harder, then not only might you live longer but your stress may actually help PROTECT your heart from heart disease!

Watch the TED talk below to find out what I mean. Its not short but it is worth the investment of your time. How often can you spend 15minutes and potentially save your won life?

How do you think you're dealing with stress? Is it time you updated your perspective?

Let us know what you think next time you're in the practice!

All the best,


Are you Sitting too much?

Maybe you've heard the new catch phrase, "Sitting is the new smoking"? 
Have you wondered why that is?  Are you curious as to how prolonged periods of sitting is causing you harm?  How sitting decreases brain activity, can cause back pain, shoulder pain and neck pain? How sitting can decrease fat metabolism, contribute to metabolic diseases, heart disease, depression and even some cancers?
For a simple explanation, watch this 5min Ted Ed talk (perhaps do it standing!) and learn what impact sitting is having on your posture and health.
If you're curious, you can even take this survey and calculate just how much sitting you are doing each day, the results may shock you!
Here's a few strategies you may use to get off your butt;
1. If you work in an office at a desk, perhaps get into the habit of taking phone calls standing up
2. Set an alarm for every 30mins to get up out of your chair and do a few stretches
3. If you commute to work via Public Transport, you could choose to stand instead of sit
4. There are great options for standing work stations - check this one out
5. Walk to work, or at least park further away from the office.  This serves two purposes, increases your exercise for the day AND reduces sitting time in the car
6. If you're into computer games, try playing them standing up, instead of sitting!  It may surprise you to know that standing actually increases brain activity and reactivity.  So standing may help you get to that next level.

A bitter sweet blog post by Caitlin Lewis

As most of the Align Chiropractic community now know, I am about leave the nest and move to the other side of the world to get married and start a new chapter of my life with my future husband and his family in Ireland. My final shift is this Saturday the 6th of June!
Its a scary yet exciting adventure. Scary because for the last 9 years I have been a part of the Align Chiropractic Team.
Some of you will remember I started on the front desk as a Student Chiropractor in 2006. I worked a with Martin and as I sat watching him adjust, I would think to myself  "Wow how amazing would it be to work as a Chiropractor under his wing".
Lucky for me the stars aligned and I became Martin’s 3rd associate in 2007 followed by Carmen and Kieran, and we have all been the of Chiropractors at Align Chiropractic since 2010.
I’ve loved being a part of this team and couldn’t think of better people to have started my career with. They have shaped who I am today both professionally and personally.
Martin has been a HUGE support and influence in my transition from student to professional Chiropractor. He is a fantastic mentor in all situations and one of the best practice owners I’ve ever had the priveilage to work with. His unwavering support, diplomatic attitude, dose of tough love when needed, unbiased advice, encouraging words, personal development and mind set coaching has given me an unshakable foundation to flourish in my future endeavours, not only as a Chiropractor but as a person as well.
It is with a heavy heart I say goodbye to the Align team and community. I can’t thank everyone enough for making my time at Align Chiropractic so fun and memorable for nearly a decade. All the kind words and thoughtful gifts I have received since deciding to leave has been more than I could ever have expected! I feel very loved and spoilt.
If you are ever in Dublin, please make sure you get in touch! The guys at align have my contact details and I would love to help you find the best place for Guiness :)

What's the Best Sitting Posture for a Happy Back?

NO NO NO Mascot Marty your posture is all wrong!

We see lots of people who sit majority of the day. Whether its working, studying, driving, socialising, browsing social media - a LOT of our day is spent on our bottoms. Did you know your posture directly effects your health!

If we are going to spend this long sitting we may as well do it right!

The Chiropractors Association of Australia have a helpful guide on how to improve your posture when sitting. Check it out here and make sure you print out the checklist and adjust your work station and contact us if you have any questions!

We are raising this awareness to promote Spinal Health Week May 25th-31st. The theme is #happyback and we’ll be giving you weekly tips on how to keep your back happy while you work, rest and play!

Back To School Tips - Backpacks

Here are some helpful hints on how to be kind on your spine while still looking cool and carrying around all your school books/iPads/laptops! The Chiropractors Association of Australia have his helpful handout to keep with up to date research on how to wear your back pack correctly.

The main points are:

  1. Your child's backpack should weigh no more than 10% of his/her body weight. If you have a primary school aged child who's bag is heavier than this - you can always carry it to and from school for them! For high school students - encourage them to carry heavy items in their arms rather than in their bags
  2. Ensure the heavier items are packed closest to their spine and lighter items towards the front of the backpack
  3. Wear your shoulder straps over BOTH shoulders
  4. Pretty Obvious - Only pack what you need

If you have any other queries/concerns about whether your child's backpack is adequate, feel free to have one of our Chiropractors check it for you.



School Bags!


Dr Jen has informed us once again of the importance of a proper fitting school bag!

Here are 3 quick tips!

1. It must weigh no more than 10-15% of a childs body weight

2. When loaded with unavoidable heavy books both shoulder straps should be worn so the child isn't pulled backwards. Their spine should be straight!

3. Go for a lightweight bad with 2 padded shoulder straps

Have a wonderful school year for 2012 :)