Geoffrey Fong Osteopathic Services Camberwell

Call 03 9888 6877  |  Monday – Friday 8am – 6pm
Saturday 11am – 2pm

Geoffrey Fong Osteopathic Services Camberwell

Call 03 9888 6877 | Monday – Friday 9am – 6pm
Saturday 11am – 2pm

Do Osteopaths crack joints?

You may have heard that Osteopaths crack joints. Someone you know or have heard about. may have been suffering from pain when they tried to move and saw an osteopath who had helped them feel better and restore their normal mobility. The idea of having your joints cracked may cause you to have second thoughts about whether to see an Osteopath for help. It sounds scary! So, to give you a better understanding of whether and when an Osteopath would crack your joints, I’ll outline the answers to that question.

The short answer is sometimes.

The long answer is, it depends on whether you have had good results in the past and how long ago that was. It’s important to determine if in your situation it is appropriate and safe. Osteopaths generally tend to use an addition range of techniques to address issues with stiff joints. There is often a restriction of movement within the joints because of the muscles that control the range of motion of a joint. To effect change within the joints, Osteopaths frequently address the local and regional muscles tensions, flexibility to implement longer terms changes and improvements in your movements, aches and pains. But, before any treatment happens, it is crucial to diagnose what your situation is and perform special tests to work out if the benefits of one treatment are much greater than any side effects.

When is it okay for an Osteopath to crack your joints.

If you have had a thorough examination and treatment by an AHPRA (Allied Health Professional of Australia Board) professionally government registered practitioner or your medical practitioner and felt that it was benefit in the recent past. It helps to have a clear understanding of your medical and health status.

When it is best practice for an Osteopath to not crack your joints.

  • Bone Thinning
  • Old or new neck fractures
  • Risk of diseased neck arteries
  • Risk of erosion of the joints because of arthritis

If you have issues with bone thinning (AKA osteoporosis or osteopenia): this will usually have been diagnosed by a special X-ray by your doctor, have had falls in the last 8 weeks, sudden loss of height which can indicate a spinal fracture and or cancer. Another issue particularly in relation to neck pain and stiffness is if you are experiencing any dizziness, especially when you look up or turn your head for a short or long period. This can be entering the “Russian Roulette” scenario that many people have heard about and make them very concerned about cracking of the neck. The underlying issue that can make cracking the neck risky is arteriosclerosis affecting the walls of the vertebral artery. This causes the thinning tube within which the blood flows through the neck and up to the brain. It is not the sole supply to the brain, but the issue is if there is a blockage of flow within this artery and cracking the joints suddenly releases the clot, it can flow up to the brain. Another scenario is that the wall of the artery is brittle because of the cholesterol deposits. Brutal cracking can tear the lining of the artery. Thankfully, there are tests both in the clinic and diagnostic imaging to work out if there is a compromise in your neck arteries that determine if it is too high risk to do it.

A different set of diseases that may mean that you shouldn’t crack the joints is some forms of arthritis including rheumatoid arthritis because the joint between the first and second spinal bones can be compromised by weakening of the ligaments that connect them.

This all sounds a bit scary, but when you have a professional Osteopath taking care of you, you’re in good hands. In our clinic there are less risks because we think of, look for and know when it is too risky to crack your joints and instead, have other methods to deal with the situation.

Alternatives to cracking the joints.

It is important to know that Osteopaths have about 8 main technique types.

If there are too many unknowns, clinic tests show that you are at risk, we can provide alternatives. Besides the neck muscle massage techniques there are other less vigorous and less risky options that we use to free the movement in the neck.

Technique 1 Sub-Occipital Rocking of Both sides at the same time

The first technique is called sub-occipital rocking or springing otherwise known as an articulation or low amplitude and force technique that slowly moves the joints at the top of the neck.

Technique 2 Sub-Occipital Rocking on One Side:

rocking or springing otherwise known as an articulation or low amplitude and force technique that slowly moves one of the joints at the top of the neck at a time.

Technique 3 Muscle Energy Technique for one sub-Occipital Joint at a time:

I refer to this as a “contract, relax and stretch movement” (which Osteopaths refer to as a Muscle Energy Technique) where we momentarily trick the small muscles across and around a joint into relaxation and then provide a small movement to stretch the muscle and move the joint.

I have produced videos to demonstrate these techniques. Please look and if you have any questions, let me know.

Treatment Techniques youtube

For more information on neck pain visit:

By |2024-02-14T10:30:32+11:00February 13th, 2024|Maintenance, Osteopathy|Comments Off on Do Osteopaths crack joints?

How to adapt to Autumn, daylight savings and its effects on your body.

Daylight savings ends on Sunday 2nd of April 2023. Changes like this affect people differently. So, remember to be kind to yourself and do less rather than more to conserve energy over that weekend and week. We are a few weeks into Autumn now. My mother often recalled how my grandfather, a Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor, described the change of seasons as (a change) “wind” that can affect us. When this happened, he found that patients were more likely to get sick and come in to consult him. As a result, people would come into his clinic in Nicholson St Fitzroy seeking remedies for colds, aches, and pains during this change of season and daylight savings. It still happens today.

Typically, I find that people feel the effects over a week. It can be like jetlag. Sleep may be disturbed, there’s less recovery, and clients come in with a stirring up of their muscles and joint aches and pains. You may need additional help with the change of season. In my grandfather’s case, patients would seek preventative assistance to help fortify their health and ward off sickness before it struck them. He would suggest taking things “a little easier over the next week or so” to conserve energy and adapt to the changes. It is like backing off the throttle in your car as you head into challenges like a set of corners. That also helps reduce the risk of crashing.

We are heading into the school holidays and the start of a new sports season for many. So now is a great time to pick up on any niggles in the muscles and joints before the season gets underway. We’ll be open during the school holidays to care for you, and the days will be limited partly because of Easter, so get in early to reserve yourself a spot.

Much like my grandfather would have suggested, consider conserving energy and redirecting into healing rather than letting injuries and sickness stop you in your tracks and force you to have an unscheduled stoppage in play. So please book an appointment, and let’s develop a plan to keep you going strong.

By |2023-04-05T10:12:30+10:00April 5th, 2023|Geoffrey Fong|Comments Off on How to adapt to Autumn, daylight savings and its effects on your body.

Five tips for working from home on a Laptop or Desktop Computer  

Have you ever noticed that you’re uncomfortable while working from home? It can be prolonged team video meetings or pieces of work that you become engrossed to the point that you look up and wonder where the last three hours went? You may feel that your head tends to creep forward towards the screen, your neck, shoulders and back protest, but you have difficulty ironing out the knots in your muscles. If it is not going away and you’re ready to make changes to help improve the situation. Here are some tips to make a start.

Your Desk?

It is best to start with your work surface. Choosing the right desk height is critical. Aim to have your forearms horizontal with elbows at 90 degrees. Your seat height may need to be adjusted.

Your Seat?

Next, source a dedicated and adjustable office seat. Sarah Thiele of Kerwin Interiors has provided thoughtful and invaluable advice when we have upgraded our office furniture over several years. One of the critical tips she gave us was to remove the arms on our office chairs. You can move the seat further underneath a desk/work surface and increase the likelihood of a much more comfortable position in front of our desktop computers. Pay that little bit more to access higher quality and longer-lasting furniture.

We replaced a couple of office chairs that we had bought over 15 years ago. The gas lifts had worn out. It is fascinating to see that more up to date chairs are broader and more comfortable. You get used to sitting in a chair that has slowly worn out. Even the new foam was more supportive. lol

Under Your Seat?

Using a chair-mat helps by reducing rolling resistance, making it easier to move from A to B in the office. Conversely, if you are on a slippery floor, specially designed castors can be retrofitted to improve the grip on the floor, reducing your fatigue of holding the chair in one place.

Your Computer Screen?

Set up a sitting or standing position as close as possible to what you would for a desktop. So, get a laptop raiser, a separate keyboard and a mouse. It’s best to have the top of the screen at eye-height

Set up for two monitors.  

I don’t have this set up: yet, but. I noticed this advice from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety.

Like using a single monitor, an appropriate set up of dual (two) monitors is essential to help reduce work-related musculoskeletal injuries.

First, determine how much you use each monitor. Do you use both equally or one most of the time?

If you use both monitors equally (about 50/50):

  • Place both monitors as close as possible in front of you. The inner edges should touch and be directly in front of you.
  • Place the monitors at an angle, creating a semi-circle.

If you use one monitor more often (about 80/20):

  • Place the monitor you use most directly in front of you as if it was a single monitor.
  • Place the secondary monitor on one side and at an angle (half of a semi-circle).
  • You may find one eye is more dominant than the other. Place the secondary monitor on the side of your dominant eye.

In both cases, monitors should still be about an arm’s length away and at the same height (eye level or slightly lower if using corrective lenses).

Your Body?

Your body needs to move. So, you need to stop and rest now and then. The length of time depends on you but taking a break each 40 – 60 minutes can help prevent fatigue. Two of the most common areas of the body that are affected include the neck and shoulders and the lower back. Here are links to videos to help you stretch these areas and lower the tension levels.


If you have addressed these issues and need help with muscle strain or spinal or joint soreness, we can offer help, advice and support to assist your recovery.


By |2022-03-04T11:19:09+11:00March 3rd, 2022|Neck Pain, Shoulder Pain|Comments Off on Five tips for working from home on a Laptop or Desktop Computer  

Improve chronic hip, thigh and knee pain

Natalie reveals the simple approach that helps dramatically improve chronic hip, thigh and knee pain.

Have you ever had pain over the side of your hip, thigh or knees? It may be waking you from your sleep when you lie on your side or your knee is very tight, sore and makes cracking noises. Natalie has helped many clients with these sort of problems. They are often surprised to learn that there is more to the problem than they thought.

Whether it’s your first time seeking treatment or you’ve tried ‘everything’ to find relief, if it has been there for more than three months, it is chronic. So, you need to have a course of treatment to make an effective impact on something that has become entrenched.

Natalie’s approach is local, regional and global. She looks at the site of the injury as well as the areas above and below. When the injury is chronic, it has been there for a while. So, it has had time to spread. Many clients are surprised to find that there are spots outside of the area that they came complaining of, that are tender only when they are touched. In many cases the problem starts below the knee.  There is a stiffness in the ankle joint along with tension within the calf muscles.

This leads to a reduced ability to absorb shock within the leg when walking and running. As a result, the shock of jarring is absorbed the muscles of the leg and thigh. They work harder and become tight.

Natalie’s approach addresses the hip thigh and knee. In addition, she mobilizes the ankle joints and releases the calf muscle tension. To enhance and maintain the improvement in movement she devises exercises for you.

As a result of her approach, clients find that they have less tension over time and that the exercise she provides enable patients to get back to the gym and exercise. So, they feel more flexible, strong and can build their overall fitness and health.

If you’d like to discover how to greatly improve pain affecting the outside of your thigh, especially just above your knee, please call to see what we can do for you.

By |2019-08-30T12:33:48+10:00August 30th, 2019|Knee Pain, Leg Pain, Massage|Comments Off on Improve chronic hip, thigh and knee pain

From Dizziness and Fainting To Back On The Sports Field

Have you ever suffered dizziness while playing sport? Well, recently, a patient came in complaining of exactly that. He came in having suffered from unexplained dizziness and fainting that happened at random while they were active on the sports field. It had been affecting them for three or more months and was really worrying for them. Naturally, they had been to see their doctor who had run the full battery of diagnostic tests. Nothing abnormal had been revealed. Their naturopath suggested seeing someone such as myself: an Osteopath.

I was glad that they had been tested medically to rule out anything sinister. It’s the first thing that I think of… My approach was to assess their neck and spinal movements as well as any underlying tensions or abnormalities within the muscles. In this case the patient had experienced a fair amount of rough and tumble landing awkwardly on the sporting field. As a result there was muscle tension and spasm not unlike what someone experiences in a car collision aka whiplash.

After finding this, treatment involved gentle yet deep muscle massage, subtle joint mobilization followed up by tailored stretching exercises to help reinforce the changes created at the clinic. As well as that I emailed links to the videos of the specific exercises.

The patient agreed to a course of treatment over eight weeks. The outcome was that he was able to return to the sporting field with full confidence without further incidence. We wish him all the best for the rest of the season.

By |2019-08-21T15:10:37+10:00August 21st, 2019|Osteopathy, Sports Injuries|Comments Off on From Dizziness and Fainting To Back On The Sports Field

7 Tips To Survive A Long Haul Flight

Are you planning on a taking a flight overseas for say 12 hours or more and have concerns about whether you will make it without a whole lot of back or neck pain? Here are some tips to help make it easier.
Let’s plan ahead.

  1. Get a neck pillow
    Firstly, can you sleep on a flight. If you can make yourself comfortable. Grab a neck pillow so that your head stays in line with the rest of your body.
  2. Ask for a Complimentary Pillow and Blanket.
    Check to see if you are being offered a pillow (you can use to pillow to support the small of your back) and or blanket during your flight. Cover yourself up if you can.
  3. Move or Shut Off The Overhead Fans.
    Careful where you point those overhead fans. If they focus a beam of cold air on your neck, then you can end up with a wry neck.
  4. Get Some Ear Plugs And An Eye Mask
    If noise affects you, carry ear plugs or get noise cancelling headphones. If light disturbs your sleep get yourself block out eyeshades.
  5. Ask If There Any Empty Seats
    To make life even more comfortable ask if there are any rows of empty seats. If you are lucky you can spread out and lie flat across them.
  6. Ask For A Bulkhead Or Emergency Exit Seat
    Sometimes it is possible to choose a “bulk head” seat where there isn’t a seat in front of you. You just have to be physically fit and prepared to help others get out of the plane if it has an unexpected landing.
  7. When Awake Get Up Every Now And Then And Go For A Walk
    If on the other hand you can’t sleep on a flight, make sure that you get up periodically e.g. each hour or two and go for a walk around the aircraft. Do some gentle stretches while standing. To make this easier choose an aisle seat or ask for a bulk head seat as above.

The above will help you both to prevent problems and make your flight more comfortable. Enjoy your holiday or business trip with one less thing to worry about. If you need help before your flight to make your back stronger and suffer less pain, we can help with a program, especially if you have a long lead time before the flight. Often clients have come to me soon after they have booked their flight a year in advance. We work together to ensure that they are fit for the trip.

By |2019-07-04T11:40:10+10:00July 4th, 2019|Back Pain, Knee Pain, Neck Pain|Comments Off on 7 Tips To Survive A Long Haul Flight

Could Your Legs and Feet Feel Better?

Do you feel like you’ve lost the spring in your step, when you take your first steps of the day feeling like you’ve got wooden legs or feel a pain underneath your  heel that lasts for a while until  you have walked around a bit?

Have you experienced pain, “pull” or twinge in your calf when you take off for a quick run? Ever had a dull tooth ache like pain along the front of your shin. There are many ways in which you might be affected by leg pain.

We Massage and Loosen Leg Muscles, Tendons and Joints.

We love the challenge of working out what causes your pain. Providing a treatment and exercise solution. We have found that in many case of chronic or long-standing leg pain that you also have hidden joint stiffness and compression especially in the areas above and below. This includes knee, ankle and foot joints.
They need to be assessed and treated to help take the pressure out of the leg muscles. Some of the muscles that start in the leg actually end up in the feet. If they are tense, you lose the ability to absorb shock in your foot. So, the muscles in your legs suffer from an increased pressure of shock absorption coming up from the foot and ankle.

Bounce Out Of Bed Again

So, if leg pain is holding you back from your normal, sporting, leisure and/or work activities, we help you reduce the pain of  the inflammation and then the pain and tension in your muscles, tendons and joints, so that you can return to what you what you want to be doing over time. In addition, we can help you to feel better than you have in a long time. Putting the spring back into you step.

Rather Than Wait and Wonder, Let’s Make a Change

If you need help to improve your situation as far as muscle and joint issues are affecting you day to day.  Let’s talk and take you to the next level.
Contact us so that you can arrange a time that suits. We can identify what you have going on and provide you with a realistic guideline as to how long it should take to heal and what you may be able to achieve over the long run.

By |2019-05-07T16:10:54+10:00May 7th, 2019|Leg Pain, Sports Injuries|Comments Off on Could Your Legs and Feet Feel Better?

Back to School: Bags

Is your child looking awkward while carrying their school bag?

As time goes on kids seem to carry more things. Books, Musical Instruments, Phys Ed and Sporting Gear the list goes on. And this heavy weight can impact their posture and back health.

When I went to school I was in the Army Cadets for four years.  We went on outdoor camps and carried various pieces of equipment to stay out overnight. There were heavy loads. To go on long distance walks or exercises I quickly realized that I needed to learn how to carry things efficiently to reduce fatigue.
Things may have changed. But, just in case they haven’t, the best foundation is to learn how to carry your load ergonomically or with the least effect on your body.
This is so important for school kids.

Watching your kids do a short walk with their loaded backpack or school bag before school starts can be a great way to gauge how well fitted the bag is for them. Ask your child how their pack feels. Have a look at how it sits on them. If they feel the need to take it off very quickly there may be issues with how they are wearing it. Listen carefully if they talk about sore shoulders, neck, lower back or headaches. These are some of the signs that can come from an ill-fitting pack.
Thankfully, there has been a lot of thought put into school bags. It’s better if you can go with the backpack where possible. To start with adjust the straps so that the bottom of the pack sits above their bottom. If they come with the waist strap, this is great when things get heavy. It takes some of the load of your child’s shoulders.

Check the shoulder straps to see if there is webbing that allows a chest strap. This can also take pressure off their shoulders.

Packing the bag.
Place heavier items at the bottom of the pack and closer to the spine where you can. E.g. Books and shoes. This helps to centralize the mass.
When your child’s pack fits well, they will be more comfortable, and it is easier for them to carry it. They will have less pain and aches, so that they can get on with their learning and enjoyment of the school year.

If after trying a few of the measures above, your child still doesn’t look comfortable or is suffering from problems in their neck, shoulders or lower back.  You may have questions or feel that there is something else that needs to be addressed, we are only too happy to help. If you like you can take pictures of your child with the back pack on from the side, front and back and email them to us. This can give us a way to do a basic postural assessment.

By |2019-05-07T15:57:27+10:00January 26th, 2019|Back Pain|Comments Off on Back to School: Bags

Tight Shoulders holding you back?

There are actually many ways in which people come to see us about tight shoulders. It can be as simple as feeling like you’re wearing your shoulders a lot closer to your ears than you feel they should be. People have said things like

  • I feel like my shoulders are up so high that they are like my earrings
  • I am having trouble holding my head up.
  • Both my shoulders and neck are so tight that I can’t turn my head properly.
  • I woke up with a wry neck.
  • I can’t reach to do up my bra or comb my hair.
  • I can’t lift my arm up more than the level of my shoulder.
  • I have problems getting my arm into my jacket.
  • I have trouble carrying my handbag.
  • I’m getting headaches that seem to come from my shoulders.
  • I can’t lie on the shoulder that is sore when I sleep because it aches.
  • I’ve got an ache right out on the tip of my shoulder.
  • I can’t turn over in bed without waking up because of pain.

These are situations where remedial massage can help.

The trick is to work out which muscles cause the issue. The next step is massaging to reduce the tension in the muscles and tendons. This encourages blood flow and healing. The muscles can affect the movement in the joints. Working on the muscles can help free up stiff joints like the shoulder and neck.

Some of the things that come after a visit to Backstroke Massage:

  • Ability to move with less or no pain.
  • Greater confidence to play sport or do the normal activities that you love.
  • Feel physically and not just mentally tired after a good work out.
  • Better sleep because you aren’t being woken up by pain when you turn in bed.
  • Recover better and waked up refreshed rather than drained.

Call 9888 6877 to find out more or make a time to discuss and analyse why you are having tight shoulders. Book yourself an appointment online. Wait no more.

Why accept that it’s what you should expect now that you are getting “older”. Take action without having to take one more medication.


By |2018-10-17T17:58:34+11:00October 17th, 2018|Shoulder Pain|Comments Off on Tight Shoulders holding you back?

When the Rubber Side Goes Up: Recovering From Motorcycle Riding Injuries

There is nothing quite like the exhilaration of riding your motorcycle along your favourite road or track. If the rubber side goes up, you may bounce. A motorcycle injury is never fun. Your body can either absorb the energy in the muscles, tendons and ligaments or break bones. Even after your bones have healed there can be pain or restriction coming from your injured muscles and tendons. This is where we can help in your rehabilitation.

For other riders, they suffer for less obvious reasons. The more common reasons that riders come in to have treatment for include: lower back ache, pain and stiffness. Neck and shoulder pain after long sessions on the bike. Some riders have elbow and forearm pain that can make twisting the throttle or using your clutch painful. Knees can be sore because of the strong contractions involved in changing direction.

An Osteopath helps back aches and pains with a combination of loosening the back muscle tension and gentle techniques where you are in control of the forces to get the joints moving again. No sudden, unexpected manoeuvres. Back problems for a motorcyclist often occur in the “transport” or straight sections of a ride between the “twisty roads”.

Very often problems have knock on effects. When you have spasm in one area, the sections above and below the site are forced to take on some of the duties.  They compensate for the injured area. If things go on for a while, those areas start to complain and can get sore. In the case of the lower back, the thigh and hip muscles can get overused. When the thigh muscles get tight, it can affect the knees.

When your shoulders and neck are sore it can make head checks hard. As well as that it may make heavy braking and cornering difficult. This affects your safety, let alone taking away your enjoyment. Sometimes it can give you headaches. Working on the muscles around the neck, gently stretching and getting you to contract and relax the muscles helps mobilize the little but very important neck joints.

If you have sore elbows, it could be a number of things. You may have old injuries or your posture on the bike. This is where squeezing the tank is very important. It means that you take more of your body weight on your lower limbs as opposed to supporting your weight on your wrists.

Your body is like your motorcycle in that it is a physical structure and mechanism. If it gets knocked out of shape or alignment it needs tweaking, tuning or maintenance to bring things back to normal. Things don’t get better by themselves. In fact they can progress and get worse.  It’s important to do something at the right time as opposed to leaving them. This is very important with a new injury. We help to return to you to where you where before the injury. In the case where you have had an injury for a long time, it takes time to help the body know what normal feels like. There are times when consistent treatment over a longer period helps to make you feel even better than you have been in a long time. You actually feel fantastic.

You may be affected by something other than this when you ride your bike. If you have any questions about what we can help with please ask us.


By |2018-10-04T14:59:28+10:00October 4th, 2018|Back Pain, Knee Pain, Neck Pain|Comments Off on When the Rubber Side Goes Up: Recovering From Motorcycle Riding Injuries
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