I can’t remember the last time I went to see a chiropractic professional. Let’s be real, most of us could use some rearranging in many areas of our lives, but starting with our backs is probably a more manageable idea. Over the last few months, Circuit Breaker forced us into the new normal of working from home and were one of the harshest days our backs and postures have seen yet.
It’s almost ironic how we take the least care of one of the most critical regions of our bodies—our nervous system. Often forgotten, our nervous system is, believe it or not, one of the central causes of many health issues; some that would’ve never crossed our minds even. From neurological conditions to gastrointestinal problems, there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to nerve-related issues.
Today I’m here to learn more about what Vitality Chiropractic specialises in—Upper Cervical care. Despite the daunting label, it really refers to the first two bones in one’s neck—the atlas and axis—and the base of the skull, the occiput. The Upper Cervical bones protect one’s brain-stem, which surprisingly has more neurons than the rest of the spine combined, and is responsible for controlling vital body functions.
Step 1: Consultation
Dr Shaan is gentle, soft-spoken, and well-mannered—just the kind of personality you’d be ready to entrust your life, which I guess is a great thing in this case. With registration forms out of the way, he leads me into the consultation room where we delve into part one of the typical three-segment consultation.
Computer infrared spinal thermography, which is essentially a simple nerve scan, is first conducted to access the current state of my nerves—which, if I’m being honest, doesn’t quite feel the best.
Just as I’d suspected, fluctuations—which are highlighted in red—sound out that there’s upset in the area just at the nape of my neck. Depending on the severity, some patients might not require readjustment. As the young people say, it comes down to how rachet your posture has been for the period leading up to this.
Accompanying the thermography, other physical checks are conducted as well. Wear something comfortable because you’ll be in all sorts of positions in the process of the thorough examination—and you definitely want to be accessed properly.
If, like me, you wonder why and how two tiny bones can play such a vital role in your overall wellness, then Dr Shaan’s fuse box and wires analogy should do the trick. If it wasn’t obvious enough, the wires could be thought of as one’s veins, while the fuse box as the upper cervical region. When the latter is out of whack, the former suffers too, sending a rippling, and oftentimes damaging, effect throughout the body.
Step 2: X-Ray
I can’t say I’m an expert when it comes to getting my body readjusted, but I learn that this intermediate digital radiography step is unique to Vitality Chiropractic.
The specialised x-ray examination, where needed, presents a better understanding of how safe chiropractic care would be for the patient as well as deeper specificity of pain points.
Step 3: Chiropractic Adjustments
A few days later, I’m back to see Dr Shaan for the second time. We look through the X-ray scan to narrow down the area of interest, and after much scrutiny, it’s time to get down to what most people pay good money for—the adjustment.
If you’re one of those oddballs that relax to the sound of air bubbles escaping the spaces between your bones, then you’d probably be familiar with this portion.
As someone who doesn’t regularly partake in “bone-cracking” as we amateurs call it, I wasn’t sure what to expect. A rough shove and a loud crack hardly sound soothing for frail ole’ me. Just as I do during my regular blood tests, I close my eyes and brace myself for impact.
But what comes is one swift motion and a quick pop. No theatrics, nor dramatics like what you often find in popular chiropractor videos on YouTube that many watch for reasons I do not need to know. Don’t be fooled though; it doesn’t take a grand performance to mark a change. More often than not, what we truly need is a targeted remedy and an effective solution. And those are wise words you can quote me on.
The session closes with a calming 35-minute rest in a dimly-lit relaxation room with soft jazz playing feebly in the background. This allows the body to reel from the earlier adjustment process, and to ensure that you walk out feeling more rejuvenated than when you came in.
I also got the chance to speak to Dr Shaan about his job as a chiropractor, as well as his plans for Vitality Chiropractic in the years to come.
How would you describe what you do to someone you’re meeting for the first time?
I run a centre helping patients with nerve system problems, mostly migraines, vertigo and other neurological conditions.
Chiropractic is a research-driven profession specialised in scientific methods for correcting interference in the nervous system—particularly which may be due to misalignments at the spine and upper neck, affecting the central nervous system and brain stem.
What’s the most common misconception about chiropractic treatments? And how do you go about combatting that?
a. That it’s all about the pops: that’s just gas escaping the joints, (I’m not strong enough to ‘crack’ any bones).
b. That it’s expensive. It is considerably cheaper than medical care or surgery
c. That it’s dangerous. It is one of the safest healthcare professions. This is reflected in the research. The chance of anything going wrong is 1 in 5 million, and the research for this included non-Chiropractors performing adjustments! For parity, ibuprofen has a 1 in 50,000 chance of that same danger, 100 times more likely!
d. If you go, you have to go forever. We have set plans for improvement and then recommend check-ups after this point. I would see this like visiting a dentist; you may go in for a bad tooth surgery and then schedule checkups after. The checkups are your own choice. Ideally, the checkups would have started before the problem began, reducing potential complications.
What got you into practising?
I always knew I wanted to do something to help people, and I loved healthcare. I looked at dentistry, but didn’t want to look in people’s mouths all day! I considered Medicine briefly; I have a lot of respect for medical doctors but had some issues with the philosophical concepts.
Then I met a Chiropractor; she was happy and healthy, her patients were also pleased and healthy, and I saw this as a holistic approach to health which could also aid in prevention.
What advice would you give to those looking to rid their bodies of daily stress?
Research and find what works for you. Understand the stress (mental or physical) you are dealing with then figure out how to either prevent it or manage it. If it is mental, try to change the way you think about it, if you cannot change it (e.g. if work stress from your boss cannot be changed) then try to appreciate it because it allows you to grow, become more resilient, and achieve the career you desire.
If it is physical, find ways to prevent injury actively, be it due to exercise or even sitting. Move more often, try yoga, pilates or even discuss with a trainer to find stretches that you can do regularly yourself. Humans aren’t made to sit and look at phones; we aren’t designed for these postures.
Drink plenty of water, eat healthy unprocessed foods, exercise in ways you enjoy and find mental ways to destress, such as talking with friends or meditation.
Chiropractic can also be a way to clear the clutter in the nervous system brought on by too much mental or physical stress.
Tell me about your past volunteering experiences, as well as future plans.
I’ve volunteered since I was in my teens. Back home (UK) I helped organise summer camps with MENCAP. The last few years, while living in Singapore, I’ve participated in outreach trips to the Philippines, offering free checkups and care to local communities. During the circuit breaker, I was volunteering at Willing Hearts. Pre-Covid, I provided free care to migrant workers and charities, including CDE, HOME, SDI academy. We were planning bigger events with HOME, AIDHA and PAP (We Care) but that has been put on pause for now.
My ultimate goal would be to put permanent outreach programs in place to offer free Chiropractic checkups and care (as needed) to those in need in Singapore. I chair the outreach and charity committee for the Alliance of Chiropractic (AoC), so the outreach events wouldn’t just be done by my company. Long term, I would love to see it be a mandatory requirement for Chiropractors in Singapore.
What does success look like for Vitality Chiropractic Centres in 5 years?
Our immediate goal is to develop our practice to help more people with chronic, neurological health problems to take their lives back. Over the next few years, we plan to open more branches, hiring highly trained Chiropractors to reach more of Singapore and offer the highest best, most scientific service possible.
Long term, the goal is to open more branches within the region, setting a high standard of care and protocols for the profession, in countries where Chiropractic is still developing, moving Chiropractic past the concept of back and neck pain, to a specialisation in the nerve system.
Price: $ $ $
Our Rating: 4 / 5
111 North Bridge Road, Peninsula Plaza, #29-04 , Singapore 17980
111 North Bridge Road, Peninsula Plaza, #29-04 , Singapore 17980