About Dr. Samantha Ong

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So far Dr. Samantha Ong has created 28 blog entries.

Spinal Exercises: How and Why?

Exercises should be a regular part of our daily activity and weekly routine. As a chiropractor, we always advise our clients to maintain a healthy lifestyle and physical activity is a habit that we constantly encourage.

There are many benefits such as healthy muscles, bones and mobile joints. It also helps us burn calories and increase endurance. Exercising also has immediate benefits such as better sleep at night, better skin and a better ability to cope with stress and the demands of daily life. In a long term perspective, exercising can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. All this leads to a reduce risk of dying prematurely and becoming obese.

A common question posed by clients is how often they should engage in physical activity, what is considered an intense exercise or something lighter and more casual. We is recommended that you engage in activities for at least 30-60 minutes a day for 5 days a week. We always remind clients that it is not necessary to exercise for an hour straight. Even a 10-15 minute session 4 times a day, is equally as effective.

When it comes to the intensity of exercising, if you are able to speak easily, it is considered a light to moderate exercise. It is good to try to raise your heart rate but again, it is not necessary. Having some light cardio and then moving to postural, spinal exercises is ideal. This prepares your muscles for exercises and keeps the blood flow active.

Another common misconception is that exercising should be intense and difficult from the start. Do not over stress your muscles and joints! This is how injuries occur! I always recommend that clients start at an easier pace and with lighter weights. As your coordination improves, so will your balance, overall muscles tonicity and movement patterns. This is a much better way to approach and start exercising.

A simple/basic workout routine for your spine can consist of
1. ‘Dead Bug’ exercise: same side and opposite side X 15 times
2. Bridging: hold for 30 secs X 3 times
3. Squats: 10 times
4. Planks: 30 secs X3 times
5. Side planks: 30 seconds X3 times

This is a skeleton spinal workout routine for the most beginner of clients. You should try to do this set twice a day. As time goes on and as your form improves, you can slowly add weights, increase the number of repetitions and the intensity (how long you would hold a position).

If you have questions or would like to start exercising but have a concern regarding your spinal health and posture, you can always give us a visit. At Healthworks, we will love to help you find a routine tat suits you and your needs. Till then, happy exercising!

Spinal Exercises: How and Why?2021-03-03T11:45:18+08:00

Sitting For Too Long

The recent Movement Control Order in Malaysia has caused most of us to stay home and start working from home. Many of us came into this unprepared. We did not have the right tables, the right chairs and since then we may have started feeling old pains exacerbated or even new pains. Worse than bad ergonomics (right posture and right furniture), we have also suffered from prolonged sitting with irregular work hours. We no longer take walks to our colleague’s desk for a chat, walk to and from our car, walking to work.

It has been proven that sitting for more than 6 hours can be damaging to your body and the overall diseases could be compounded and cause damage that is worse than smoking.  Here are some things that can happen when you have been sitting too long. Some of which we see regularly in clinic and others that happen and indirectly affect your health.

Direct effects that we see in clinic regularly:

  1. Tightness in upper back, shoulders and neck
    This is could lead to HEADACHES
  2. Stiffness in lower back and hips
    Stiffness in your lower back and hips are due to sitting and your hip flexors shortening when you have been sitting for too long. Especially when you have a posterior tilt which leads to number 3
  3. Weakness in glutes and eventually legs
    When the glutes are inhibited by sitting all day, you lose your stabilization muscles. In a long run, your legs lose muscle mass and when we go back to regular exercising and walking, you could feel more pain than relief.

Indirect effects:

  1. Weight Gain
  2. Anxiety and Depression
  3. Cancer risk
  4. Heart disease
  5. Diabetes risk
  6. Varicose Veins
  7. Deep Vein Thrombosis

With this said, it is extremely important to keep moving during this time. To get up every 30 mins and move around for 30 seconds. If you can have a regular routine everyday to exercise or to move around, that would be perfect. We will discuss simple spinal exercises in our next blog.

If you have questions or would like to start exercising but have a concern regarding your spinal health and posture, you can always give us a visit. At Healthworks, we will love to help you find a routine tat suits you and your needs. Till then, happy exercising!

Sitting For Too Long2021-01-26T14:10:55+08:00

Spinal Health

Stuck at home wondering what can you do to help your spine? Here are some ways you can still give your back the best when you can’t get to your chiropractor, physiotherapist or spinal expert. These are in no way going to replace the importance of healthcare or seeing a specialist. These are just some simple ways you can try to help your spinal health while staying home.

Here’s some food for thought:

Think about what you are eating!
If you have the option, try sticking to plant-based proteins when you can. Things like chia seeds, lentils and beans are good options. They also can keep in the pantry for long and doesn’t rot. You can get a good amount of fiber, vitamins and minerals in the process. Meat based proteins can cause inflammation if you are sensitive. Green leafy vegetables in general are very good to work against inflammation in your body. They contain healthy minerals and can help strengthen your spine.

Try eating foods with healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. This can promote bone and tissue health. It also helps with reducing inflammation. Foods such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines are good providers of these healthy fats. You can also supplement Omega-9 fatty acids with avocados and good olive oil. Salads served with tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil are also good. Healthy nuts such as walnuts and almonds can also serve as healthy snacks and give us good fatty acids.

I’m sure some of us are wondering about dairy products and calcium intake to improve bone health but remember, dairy products also have a lot of cholesterol. Calcium can be found in other food products such as leafy green vegetables. Take some time to shop the fruit section. Look for fruits with high pigments such as strawberries, oranges and blueberries. Just remember that fruits also equal to sugar.

So you would want to balance it out with movement and exercise. As for carbohydrates complex carbs are better in this time. Such as oats and whole meal bread.

Maybe take the time to try cooking a curry! Curries have many herbs and spices: mainly turmeric which helps in repairing damaged tissue. Many curries include ginger and cinnamon as well. This does not exclude western herbs. Herbs like rosemary and basil help fight inflammation and can be easily incorporated into our meals. If you are a fan of tea, you can strengthen you immune system and reduce inflammation by drinking oolong & green teas.

Try avoiding certain types of foods as well especially fast food or overly processed food. Also try to avoid sweet beverages and soft drinks. These types of food are high in sugar and saturated fats and are bad for our overall wellbeing as well as promoting inflammation. With less movement and exercise, we should also be wary of our carbohydrate and white grain intake such as white bread and rice.

Let’s make good healthy food decisions this season while staying home. In fact, these can be made into healthy eating habits that we can follow all year round. This can help us protect our spine as well as keep healthy in addition to exercising and visiting our local spinal experts.

Spinal Health2020-04-06T12:20:18+08:00

Lower Back Pain Gardening

Many clients enjoy gardening as it eases their minds and gives them a sense of connection to nature and their environment. However, with degeneration and aging, or let’s be honest even 20 year olds, pain creeps in during our favourite hobby and it can be upsetting.

Simply put, gardening may be slow paced and relaxing for the mind but it can also be a strenuous activity that requires a lot of muscles and joint movement. You bend, stretch, lift, squat, kneel and extend your arms. This requires your hips, knees, ankles, multiple vertebral sections, shoulders, elbows and wrists to be moving well and in sync. Bet you didn’t think gardening was such hard work!

The key to preventing lower back injuries is to engage your core muscles, keep them strong as well as having good flexibility and mobility in your joints. If this isn’t in place, you would end up with the common strain in the lower back, stiffness in your hips and legs and in a long run injuries and long term numbness or tingling down your extremities (legs and arms).

With that said, we recommend our clients to warm up and cool down after gardening the same way you would before and after going for a work out or to the gym. You would ideally want your muscles to be strong and have good core muscles in your abdomen, pelvic region and glutes. Some squats, planks and light jog would suffice as a good warm up and cool down session.

Another point to note is to use the correct muscles when bending and lifting. Keep the objects you are lifting close to you and bend your knees instead of bending over. When lifting, engaging your core, glutes and your quadriceps are essential when lifting to make sure you are not injuring your back. If you feel a strain, remember to take a break, drink lots of water and rest.

When it comes to your wrist, think about the tools you are using. Use wheelbarrows instead of dragging heavy bags of dirt. Use the correct shovels and digging tools to avoid injuring your wrist. There are now ergonomic tools available and these help you with joint mobility of your elbow and wrist.

Take breaks when you can! It is best just like reps at a gym, to stop every 10 mins for a few minutes before continuing. Most recommend gardening for no longer than 30 mins at a time. We would advise the same and to drink plenty of fluids to keep your muscles hydrated. You can also ice your sore muscles to prevent swelling or to take hot Epsom salt baths after a long day gardening as it can help relief soreness and prevent your muscles from going into a spasm.

Lastly, if your spinal joints or muscles continue to ache after sitting for too long, you can always come to us at Healthworks. We have chiropractors, physiotherapists and physical trainers. All with enough experience and knowledge to help you with your condition, pain or injury. Remember, when it comes to lower back pain, prevention is always better than cure!

Lower Back Pain Gardening2020-02-21T11:30:19+08:00

De Quervain’s Tendinosis

Have you experienced pain in your thumbs that sometimes travels up to your forearm and even your elbow? Do you get this pain when you are gripping something or twisting your wrist? I have had golfers, badminton players, rock-climbers, even patients who do not engage in sports complain of such pain and they feel like it causes their thumb to have a snapping or catching feeling. This is a common overuse injury which is known as De Quervain’s tendinosis.

Tendinosis is the swelling of the tendons in the tendon sheath and De Quervain’s can be most obvious in golfers due to their repeated movements and swinging of the golf club. The worry comes when it is added to high impact of hitting the ground. Golfers with these issues will find that it isn’t just a one off issue but leads to chronic pain even off the golf course.

 

There are several ways to treat De Quervain’s non-surgically. First, we can place the thumb and wrist in splints. We could also try kinesiotaping to give the thumb enough restriction so that it can heal while still allowing free movement to c onduct activities of daily living. This could be partnered with NSAIDs if the pain is highly irritating and causes daily stress. The activities that cause the pain should also be avoided. Physiotherapy is another form of non-invasive treatment that could be considered to regain normal pain free movement and rehabilitation.

Invasive treatments would start with Corticosteroid injections. They could be administered by an orthopedic surgeon or if all else fails, you could also see an orthopedic surgeon for surgical intervention.

De Quervain’s Tendinosis2020-01-16T17:25:46+08:00

Mums, Don’t Keep Mum!

It seems that everywhere we look, someone we know has back pain. Whether you work at home taking care of your family, spend long days at the office (or both!), back pain has become so common, it now affects 4 out of 5 adults around the world! Even our growing kids and teens complain of neck and back ache on a regular basis. Like us, they too have poor posture from what seems like endless tech-stress.

Getting rid of back pain is easy, right? Just apply some ointments and balms, go for a massage, or take another pain-killer. Pain is now gone…at least for a few hours. Simply put, if you want to get rid of your back pain, first find out why you have it and understand what it is doing to you. Seek out the source and get your answers, don’t just cover up the symptoms.

As a Chiropractor, I get it. Life is busy! We work too hard, sit too long, and move too little leaving us stressed, in pain, and out of shape. Moms, with everything going on each day, it’s hard to find even a little bit of ‘down-time’ to catch up, let alone take care of yourself, but remember, if you don’t take care of yourself first, you won’t be able to take care of others either.

Everyone knows that we need good posture. Healthy spines power healthy bodies. Your spine is designed to help your body balance, bend, lift, twist, and move. Your spine also protects your precious spinal cord and gentle nerves, which control every function of your body. Sitting too much at the office, taking care of the home and family, stuck driving in traffic jams every single day ALL place undue stress on your back and body that it just wasn’t meant to handle. Ongoing stress can lead to pain and other symptoms from misalignment, compression, and even early signs of degeneration!

Don’t give pain the power to hold you back from living life your way. In fact, life truly begins when pain ends. It’s time you take back what’s yours!

If you suffer from back pain, Chiropractic can help! Visit us at Verve Shops Mont Kiara to find out more about chiropractic and what it can do for you.

Mums, Don’t Keep Mum!2020-01-07T11:01:26+08:00

Golf Warm Up Steps

Step 1

We start with general warm up exercises. These activities would help to generate heat in the joints, muscles, ligaments and other soft tissue before we move into the next phase. Activities could include climbing stairs, a comfortable jog or brisk walking. This is meant to be simple and the goal would be to increase our heart rates at a comfortable pace, increase blood flow to muscles used as well as temperature, flexibility and response time. General warm ups should not take longer than 5 minutes.

Step 2

Next, we focus on joint movement. Here, we want to reduce the stiffness in our joints and prepare our nerves and muscle systems for the game ahead. Warm ups here include stretching all the joints we are about to use in the game. Do not forget the smaller joints such as fingers and ankles. This will help lubricate the joints and get rid of stiffness that will create more stress in the joints during the game.

Step 3

Then, we look to warm up specific muscles. This should include: The spine (neck, mid-back, low-back), shoulders, arms, hips and legs. These exercises would include lunges, chest opening swings, side stretches, trunk rotations, hamstring and low back stretches.

Step 4

Lastly but certainly not the least, we need to activate and warm up our central nervous systems. This should be activity-specific. So imagine, if you were going for an intense jiu jitsu class, you would need to do back bridges, sprawls and hip escapes. For golfers, high knees, twist lunges and spiderman are a few of the many exercises that could help get the body ready for powerful and complex movements. Just remember that the warm-up should produce a mild sweat without fatiguing yourself. A general time-frame required for a proper warm-up will depend on how intense the exercises are performed and to what extent each type of golf shot (putting, chipping, driving) is practiced. A good target is 15 – 30 minutes.

Hopefully, with all these warm up tips, you will be able to prevent injuries as well as improve your golf game. Happy golfing!

 

Golf Warm Up Steps2020-01-07T10:52:07+08:00

Pain In The Butt

Let’s get real, having pain in our buttocks can be a real pain in the butt! At Healthworks, I see many clients with lower back and buttock pain. Most of the time, it is can stops them from running, walking, standing to even sitting or lying down. So how do I approach the problem and help my patients relieve our pain?

Step one would be to identify the problem and to form a clinical impression or diagnosis. As you can see, the anatomy of the gluteal (buttock) region is complicated with many overlapping muscles and ligaments, making diagnosing the condition, very important. Buttock pain can arise from structural joint misalignments, sprains or strains of the ligaments and muscles in the gluteal region, trigger points referring pain to the buttocks or nerve related conditions.

The most common reasons for buttock pain that I see in clinic are from:

Referred pain: could be from low back conditions (disc herniation, degeneration of spine, etc) or muscles in the lower back and gluteal region

SIJ syndrome: commonly described as an achy pain in the joints that can refer pain to the buttocks

Piriformis syndrome: a condition where the piriformis muscle compresses the sciatic nerve and causes pain around the buttock region and down the leg

Coccydynia: usually arises after someone falls and lands on their buttocks

The next step would be to treat the condition and to plan out a proper treatment plan for the patient which may include chiropractic adjustments, myofascial trigger point therapy, stretches, strengthening exercises and instilling other posture techniques. I focus on not just treating my patient’s pain symptoms but also on helping them maintain their new found mobility and teaching them prevention methods to avoid re-occurrence of their condition.

So, if you’re suffering from a form of buttock pain or even lower back pain, I would encourage you to find a chiropractor near you and focus on finding out the cause of your symptoms. Then, you and your doctor can work together on solving the problem and finding a long lasting solution. If you are in the Mont Kiara, KL area. We are located in VERVE SHOPS, Level 2, Lot 5.

Pain In The Butt2019-10-29T14:04:19+08:00

Scoliosis – Part 2

In my last blog, I explained the different types of scoliosis, how we screen for them and how we could see them presenting in ourselves, our friends and family. It is again, really important to note, that scoliosis is in most cases, not a life-threatening disease and we do not have to live in fear or live in lack due to it.

How do we treat scoliosis?

First of all, it is important to understand that scoliosis is not something you can remove or simply do a course of treatments and cure. Scoliosis is usually genetic and the goal in clinic is to maintain the curve, prevent progression and if by chance, create a regression in the curvature.

Depending on the severity of the curve, most patients have less than Cobb’s angle 40 degrees curvature. If you have less than 15 degrees, it is not considered a scoliosis. Only a deviation. In which case, it is suggested that you should do some physical therapy. This could be in the form of physiotherapy, chiropractic treatments and exercises. With most cases, a combination of treatments according to the patient’s needs is the best formula for success. Most clients we see do a combination of chiropractic adjustments: to maintain spinal mobility, health and posture, to realign the spine and relieve muscles and pinched nerves (if any), physiotherapy: to help with building non-compensating movement patterns, releasing hypertonic muscles and re-engaging deep muscles, personal training: to build muscle strength, regain confidence and learn to rebalance their movement overall.

If a client comes in with 20-40 degrees, regular x-rays (once to twice a year) are warranted and we continue with similar treatment. Some may opt for bracing but most clients for aesthetic purposes prefer exercising to maintain the muscle strength. If a client has 40 degrees or more, most orthopaedic surgeons and spinal surgeons would recommend surgery as the best course of treatment. There are however cases where patients choose to not on-go surgery but this would be with the advice of their doctors.

When should I start treatment?

With scoliosis, it develops as you go through puberty, so the best age to start is as soon as scoliosis is seen in the spine. We recommend patients with concerns of scoliosis to go for x-rays, with the x-rays, the Cobb Angle can be noted and referred to as a baseline. As soon as a deviation is noted, depending on the age and cause of scoliosis, treatment plans may vary as it is important to tailor is to the patient’s condition, needs and goals.

Who can help me with my scoliosis?

At Healthworks, we have a team of chiropractors, physiotherapists and physical trainers who are experienced and have helped many scoliosis patients and cases live a healthy, balanced and regular life with scoliosis. Scoliosis is NOT a disease that has to cause you pain and discomfort! As we say at Healthworks, if you have scoliosis, your spine is simply bent not broken! Come see us and let us help you today.

Scoliosis – Part 22019-09-06T01:54:35+08:00

Scoliosis: Part 1

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is described as a medical condition whereby a person’s spine curves either laterally or rotationally in a C-shape or an S-shape. Commonly it starts when boys and girls reach puberty. Most research show girls showing signs of scoliosis around 11 years of age while boys show signs a little later around 12. In clinical practice however, some children develop deviations as young as 9 years old due to poor posture at school and the use of iPads, tablets, mobile devices and laptops.

What does Scoliosis look like?

Scoliosis could present in many ways. Most younger patients have aches or pains in their upper back and lower back. Some report daily headaches or headaches after a long day at school. Commonly seen are slight deviations in the child’s upper back or shifting of their body posture as well as one shoulder raising higher than the other. Parents should look out to notice if the child’s clothes are not hanging properly and if they have a shoulder blade that is slightly protruding on one side more than the other.

How do we diagnose scoliosis?

There are some simple ways to test for scoliosis at home. Examinations of the child’s range of motion in his/her thoracic spine and lumbar spine (upper and lower back) would show imbalance and inconsistencies when compared left to right. In clinic we perform the Adam’s test which acts as a good general screening tool. This test can be performed seated or standing and can reveal deviations in the patient’s upper and lower back. A scoliometer or inclinometer is another easily performed screening.

However, I would always recommend patients suspected of having scoliosis to get x-rays done. X-rays are the easiest and definitive way of measuring a patient’s scoliosis progression. This is done by measuring The Cobb angle between the most tilted vertebrae at the top and bottom of the curve.

Am I at risk of scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a genetic condition that if one parent has, has a 30% chance of passing on to their children. 2:1 chances to the female. In clinic however, I see an equal number of male to female patients when it comes to scoliosis. Some vary from a slight deviation (less than 15 degrees curvature) to mild-moderate scoliosis (20-30 degrees). Genetic scoliosis would be considered Idiopathic scoliosis where the condition arises from an unknown source or beginning.

There are however cases of non-idiopatic scoliosis. This could be congenital where there is a malformation of the vertebrae at birth such as a hemivertebrae, unilateral bar or blocked vertebrae. This could also be linked genetically but malformations could also be caused by certain toxic agents or diseases. Neuromuscular scoliosis is where the spinal column muscles are injured or weak. This includes spina bifida, cerebral palsy and other spinal cord injuries. Other kinds of non-idiopathic scoliosis could be caused by a weakness in passive stabilizers such as post-operative patients, Marfan’s syndrome and inflammatory diseases.

Who can help me with my scoliosis?

At Healthworks, we have a team of chiropractors, physiotherapists and physical trainers who are experienced and have helped many scoliosis patients and cases live a healthy, balanced and regular life with scoliosis. Scoliosis is NOT a disease that has to cause you pain and discomfort! As we say at Healthworks, if you have scoliosis, your spine is simply bent not broken! Come see us and let us help you today.

Scoliosis: Part 12019-07-23T05:51:01+08:00
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