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A hypothesis: Why Singaporean Kids are more likely to develop neck pain than their counterparts in South East Asia?

As a physiotherapist working in private practice, I am starting to see an increasing trend of younger clients with neck pain. The youngest has been 8, but the majority are between 13-16 years of age. I believe that this is a trend that we will continue to see with potential for even younger clients.

My thoughts: Some possible factors unique to Singapore, that may be contributing to this trend:

1. IT/ phones
Singapore is one of the most wired up countries in the world, having one of the highest IT penetration rates. Despites Singapore’s 4 million population, it has 402,992 iPhones, 76575 iPod Touch and 1,453 iPad’s totaling  480,950 iOS devices. Singapore has the highest iOS penetration , in comparison to neighbouring Indonesia which has the lowest. ).

According to iDA Singapore, in the fourth quarter of 2010, Singapore’s household broadband penetration rate was 191%. This percentage suggests that almost every household had 2 broadband subscriptions.

The mobile phone penetration rate is 143%, and 3G mobile subscription totals is an overwhelming 4.7 million.

The statistics alone indicate that the Singaporean lifestyle has changed over the last 10 years. It can be inferred that almost every household will have access to a computer, a 3G mobile phone and possibly a tablet.

Most children in Singapore have access to some IT and are exposed and taught to use computers in schools. This fact, combined with the popularity of social networks like Facebook and Twitter for the older kids and Club Penguin for the younger kids, as well as the myriad of free games available on the iphone and ipads, children in Singapore spend more time in potential poor postures whilst attending to these IT tasks; and more time indoors than outdoors.



2. Decrease outdoor play

Apart from the reasons mentioned above, other factors that may influence outdoor play are:

The oppressive heat and humidity, With a constant daily humidity of 99% and a temperature of 33 degree Celsius it is understandable the kids prefer to stay indoors. Possibly aggravating the problem are the parents who also may not be as willing to accompany the younger ones to the park for the same reason.

Secondly, the lack of open spaces available for free play. Approximately 80% of the population lives in apartments, and the majority of those living in landed properties have little garden space. The physical environment in itself is not conducive to outdoor play.

It is commendable that in most housing estates, there are playgrounds for young children to play, but not much for the older kids. You will often see signs that say “no soccer allowed” in the void decks and even some open fields. With such restrictions, it is no wonder outdoor play is reduced.

Thirdly, perhaps the majority of households are dual income, parents are not able to supervise outdoor play and may not want their children to play outdoors on their own.

3. Great emphasis of academic results and sport is not seen as a priority.
There is a greater emphasis on academic performance in Singapore, compared to anywhere else in South East Asia. With no natural resource, human resource remains its main driving force leaving Singaporeans no choice but to be ahead of the game.

This translates to lots of pressure to do well in school as that is seen to lead to a good job with a good income, and thus growth for the economy.

As a result, outdoor play or pursuing ambitions of an elite sport athlete is not a priority or possibly encouraged in a practical Singapore. Such mindsets are subsequently ingrained in a young children, and is unlikely to change anytime soon in the future.

4. Parents awareness of ergonomics
As children spend increasingly longer time studying or and at the computer, it is imperative that as parents, we realize that good ergonomics is paramount in reducing the incidence of neck and back pain in this population.

The study table and chair must therefore be of the right height. The child’s back must be fully rested against the back of the chair; and feet completely supported on the floor. The table height should be lowered such that the child’s elbow can be at 90’ angle when rested on the table. When reading, the table should be inclined so that the child need not to drop their head forward to read. Investing in an ergonomic table and chair is a worthwhile investment for your child’s spinal health.

If the child has to spend a fair bit of time on the laptop, buy a laptop riser, a separate key board and mouse. Using a laptop without ergonomic modification will result in excessive loading in the neck joints leading to pain.

If your child is complaining of neck or back pain, consult your nearest Core concepts branch for advise and treatment.

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I had an excellent sports massage by Wan Ling, which was very different from the usual massage I've tried elsewhere. Wan Ling skillfully and systematically loosened every muscle in my upper back and neck over the course of an hour. If anyone is seeking relief from tense muscles, I would highly recommend making an appointment with Wan Ling.
Rebecca Lim
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Came to see Xue Ting with a broken shoulder for the last 6 weeks and was impressed with her attentiveness and ability to make me feel me feel comforted in my condition . Very dedicated and good therapist indeed .
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They adopt a scientific and personal approach. The therapists put in a lot of effort to diagnose the issue before attending to it. Overall, I would strongly recommend their professionalism and methods.
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Really good sports massage! Booking process was efficient too :)
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Friendly and really professional service! I immediately felt welcomed the moment I stepped into the clinic! The physio offered me great advice beyond what I had asked, which allowed me to have a deeper understanding as to why I had my issue in the first place. With this kind of service, I would honestly recommend this physio if you are serious about getting better.
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Thoughtful and sincere service. Highly recommended!
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Benedict Koh
My mum received her first Apos treatment. We intend to continue until her hip muscles become strong. We believe in the treatment as we saw how amazing it was. The idea was simple. Really love that she can be herself again, for long term. The hip and knee cap operations offers 15yrs. Hence we reject the cost and short-life. My wish is that the treatment cost can be lowered and more are aware of this treatment. God bless and thank you team.
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Look for Soo, he is a great physiotherapist . Always communicating and always asking for my feedback. I’m on the right path to recovery all thanks to Soo. Two thumbs up.
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Highly recommended for sports massage
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I go to Novena and Cheryl is my therapist. She was upfront from the get go about my neck condition. I liked her honesty and said we'll give it a try. I was better after 4 weekly sessions and continued to go to her every 2 weeks. With her help I am in a better condition, had to put in effort on the exercises she taught me as well.
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Sam Costanza
Sam Costanza
The best physiotherapist ever. Cheryl is really good. Doesn't shortchange me of time and make sure I feel better before she lets me go. The front desk staff are great too. Very accomodating and friendly. Thank you Carol and Farrah. Only thing if they can give instructions to how to go to their place will be great. Usually only unit number but do give some details like mrt exits and directions to lift and such will be excellent. Coz I almost got lost in 2 different places. Overall still love core concept because of Cheryl! Thank you Cheryl!!
Jeanette Goh
Jeanette Goh
Found out about Core Concepts last year through social media and made an appointment as i was experiencing some neck and shoulder discomfort after a traffic accident. My therapist was evidently experienced and was able to pinpoint the cause of my aches. The one thing i loved about my experience at Core Concepts is that they are not like typical physiotherapists who simply prescribe take home exercises, instead my therapist was extremely hands on, helping me to massage my neck at the right spots to relief the stiffness - best massage ever! Would highly recommend Core Concepts!!
Claire Chia
Claire Chia
Easily the best physio clinic I've been to.
Natarajan Baradwaj
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The only physio clinic i trust! A unique approach to treating pains, you simply have to try it out for yourself. Have recommended many friends and family and core concepts has not disappointed. Thumbs up!!!
Claire Chia
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From the reception to the therapist, they are friendly and nice. I was taught on a 2 steps stretching to strengthen my leg muscles that I can do it myself daily and It did help :) Will recommend to anyone who wish to have therapy sessions.
Jaz
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Brenda Chong
Brenda Chong
-emails with advertisement and birthday wishes came, but they didn't think that their customer (with 4/10 sessions remaining in his package) would have expected a reminder of ANY kind if his package was already expiring. I asked the clerk from my last visit how many sessions I had remaining, and she told me 4, with no update on the expiry at all. -assumed I wanted a physiotherapy (PT) appointment when my past SMS have always been for sports massage (SM); whenever I asked for "available slots", they would give me the slots for SM. yet they suddenly gave me the list of available slots for PT ytd. I'm also to blame for not verifying and reading their long SMS carefully.-their masseuse is very good though, skilful and respectful. They ask important questions to understand their client before starting on the SM. I'd still return even though the administrative process is lacking.
Beale Liu JieXiong
Beale Liu JieXiong
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