WHENEVER one feels stiffness in the shoulder or neck, one would immediately think of remedying it with a painkiller or a visit to a tukang urut (massage therapist). However, one should also consider getting examined by a chiropractor to see if there are any muscular pains in their neck, joints or back. Chiropractor Dr Benjamin Loh pointed out that while the practice is relatively new in the country, this form of alternative medicine has been practised in the Western countries for several decades now. “What we do is to check our patient's posture, and check their neck, upper and lower body, as well as joints such as the ankles, elbows, and knees to see if there are any joints 'stuck' or out of alignment,” he said. Being literally “hands on” with their patients, Loh said that a chiropractor would then use his hands to feel the bones and joints of the patient, and try to “adjust and twist” their spine or bones. “This practice was started in the US by Daniel David Palmer, who stated that by adjusting the body, correcting spine and misalignment, the body can recover by itself,” he said. He further added that when part of the body is misaligned, like the pelvic bone, it would cause unnecessary stress and pain to the rest of the body. “And all the muscles and tendons are connected to the bones and joints – if the pelvic bone is realigned, it would relieve the pain,” he said. Having started his own practice in September last year, and opening two clinics, MBA Chiropractic in Seapark, Petaling Jaya and 10 Boulevard, Kayu Ara, Loh pursued this career after having been a lecturer for about 10 years. “I thought to myself, after lecturing, that I should do something different – and healthcare was a passion I had when I was still in school,” he said. Loh noted that he chose chiropractic as opposed to being a doctor as he preferred a more natural way of healing people without surgery or injection. He said that his clientele comprised office workers as well as those involved with sports and health activities. “Some of my patients come in because of sports injuries like a pain in the knee after running, sprained ankle, or back pain after lifting in the gym, as well as office workers who stare at the computer for long periods. “They either feel pain on their back or in their neck and could feel the pain when they turn their neck about 10-15 degrees,” he said. Loh said that normally, he would have his patients go through 10 sessions of therapy with him to help them recover. “But usually, by the fifth session, I would carry out a reassessment with the patient to determine if he or she is getting better before recommending further sessions,” he added. Loh is a “mixer chiropractor”, who, aside from using his hands, uses other treatments including ultrasound and shockwave therapy to help his patients. The writer got to experience the shockwave therapy where Loh used the machine to “shoot” mild sound waves on the right shoulder and left thigh which created a tingling sensation. “The sound wave creates mild inflammation on a part of the body, and this would encourage the body to send white blood cells to that part of the body to repair itself and heal,” he said. However, he stressed that such therapy is given only if the patient has suffered much pain for several months. He also advised the patient to go to the hospital if the pain was chronic and beyond his jurisdiction. “The patient needs to be examined first, and not have the injured area rubbed or adjusted immediately when we first meet them. If there is an underlining problem, I would advise them to go to the hospital for treatment,” he added. On how to avoid muscle pains and joints, Loh said: “For office workers, they should move around more often – after sitting down for 15 to 20 minutes, they should get up and walk around their office and stretch to avoid being too stiff. “For those who exercise regularly, do remember to stretch before working out and to cool down after finishing their routine."