A selection of published articles written by, or written about Dr Marcus McAllister (Chiropractor)

Dr Marcus McAllister

Written by Dr McAllister for Industrial Safety News (ISN) Magazine | May 2013 Volume 8, Issue. 2

Dr Mac chiropractor help keeps veteran Mainfreight truck driver happier and healthier on the road (and on the hockey field)

Dennis Morar

Age: 42

Sports: hockey, running, light weights

 Dennis Morar has been a truck driver with Mainfreight for the past 14 years. He calls himself an ‘old hand’ and in his day-to-day working life is called in to do all manner of deliveries around Auckland, to and from the Mainfreight depot. 

Chiropractic challenges

Driving a truck involves sitting in one place for a long time. “It’s not a natural position, so inevitably my driving puts a lot of strain on the body,” Dennis says. “I also play a lot of hockey, which does the same thing. My trapezius muscles were sore because of the sitting, my hamstrings because of the hockey and my lower back thanks to both!”

Meeting Dr Mac

 “I came into work one day and saw a flyer up on a wall at work for subsidised chiropractic treatment,” says Dennis. “I’d been meaning to go to a Chiropractor for a long time, but because of my line of work I could never make appointments. So when the opportunity came up to see someone at work for half the price, I thought bingo.”

Good for work, good for life

Dennis has now been seeing Dr Mac (Marcus McAllister) for the past three years and he tries to make it to two weekly sessions. “It helps me on a day-to-day basis,” he says. “I don’t have nearly as much back pain as I did and I’m not as fatigued. I can finish a day of driving and feel a lot better than I did before I started seeing Dr Mac.” Chiropractic care has made Dennis more productive and has reduced his time off work. “I don’t tend to get as sick as often in the winter – in fact I haven’t had the flu for three years!” he says. “That makes life outside of work a lot more enjoyable too.”

“It keeps me fluid”

 When he’s off work, Dennis is a keen hockey player. “Chiropractic care helps me a lot in my work but it also keeps my body fluid and lets me maintain an active lifestyle,” Dennis says. “If I go in on Thursday, it means I’m nice and flexible for hockey and if I go in on Tuesday, the treatment helps with any injuries I may have gotten at hockey. Dr Mac is a sportsperson himself so he understands my motivations and exactly what I need.”

A happy and fit employee is a better employee

 Dennis says his experience proves that other organisations should follow Mainfreight’s example. “Providing a service like this to your team makes them happier and healthier and therefore more productive,” he says. “People don’t have to go and find the service – it’s right there at your workplace. Dr Mac just walks out of our meeting room to collect us – you get your treatment and go back to work – so there’s no disruption to the working day.”

Team members at Mainfreight also feel that their employer is investing in them. “I feel like Mainfreight cares about my health by making chiropractic care accessible and it’s not a pinch on my pocket. It really helps to build a successful team culture overall.”

There’s no need to wait until you have back pain to go to the Chiropractor, Dennis says. “My advice is to start from a young age. Go to the Chiropractor as a preventative measure, before your back starts to hurt. We’re all prone to injuries as we age and chiropractic care will keep you in top condition.” There’s no minimum age, he says. “When my son was born, we took him to the Chiropractor straight from the hospital.”

“Dr Mac can relate to us”

 Dr Mac gets on well with the whole team at Mainfreight, Dennis says. “He understands the culture and can relate to us. He’s also worked in our industry so he understands the stresses of what we do. Being personable is crucial in his line of work, and Dr Mac is just that: easy to approach, always smiling, and always taking a personal interest in his clients.”

 
Dr Mac Chiropractic 4th ISN Article

Written by Dr McAllister for Industrial Safety News (ISN) Magazine | March 2012 Volume 7.

How to Recover from a Slip or Trip Injury

You may not realise it, but your workplace can be an obstacle course. Think of the journey from your car or bus to your desk. Stairs, slippery floors, a dislodged tile, trailing electrical leads, bad lighting, a bit of grease dripping from machinery – there’s the potential to slip or trip on each and every one of these.

Most of the time we’re lucky enough to avoid these hazards, but when you don’t, serious injuries can be sustained from seemingly innocuous obstacles.

When you fall your spine will often get jolted or twisted. If you fall on a slippery surface or on concrete in a sit-down fall, you will be impacted twice: once in the direct impact to the base of your spine, and once when the impact on your spine causes strain at the top of your neck. In more serious falls, you may fracture your spine or misalign your pelvis.

The biggest problem is that spine problems can develop gradually. You may feel fine after a trip or slip – but serious problems could begin to hit you much later.

Making the best recovery

Slips and trips happen to all of us. The most important thing is to know how to recover quickly and with as little pain as possible. Proper rehabilitation is crucial to this process. So, what steps should you undertake when you or one of your staff members sustains an injury from a slip or trip?

1). It’s important that for severe injuries, especially where you suspect a fracture or there is major bleeding, you immediately seek care at an accident and emergency clinic.

For less severe injuries:

2). Have a professional assess you after a slip or trip injury. Even in cases of immediate injuries, symptoms often show up only 24 to 48 hours later – symptoms like neck pain, thoracic spine pain and lower back pain.

3). For a traumatic injury, R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) should be the first treatment applied.

4). Then, seek the professional opinion of a chiropractor. The chiropractor will take x-rays of the area of the spine that is injured, if clinically warranted.

5). Once the assessment is complete, you will be advised of your prognosis and treatment options, as well as your rehabilitation program of stretches and exercises.

Early assessment is essential to a speedy recovery. It’s far better to be safe than sorry – don’t ever leave a potential spine injury to fester and affect you at work and home.

About

Dr Marcus McAllister is trained in the knowledge of the musculoskeletal system (meaning the muscles, bones and joints) and nervous system (which coordinates all activities and functions) of the human body.  Dr Marcus McAllister is licensed by the Office of Radiation to take x-rays to help locate underlying conditions to treat you with the best knowledge.  Dr McAllister graduated from the New Zealand College of Chiropractic and is a member of the NZCA.  As an ACC Accredited Primary Healthcare Professional, Dr McAllister has undergone ACC training in Preventing & Managing Discomfort, Pain & Injury.

For more info on Dr McAllister’s courses for safe lifting practices (Manual Handling) and workstation setup & posture (Office Ergonomics) or Chiropractic in the workplace go to www.drmac.co.nz

 

Written by Dr McAllister for Industrial Safety News (ISN) Magazine | Summer 2011 Volume 6.

Don’t Let Injuries Sneak Up on You: How to Fix Ergonomics in an Industrial Setting

Working on a conveyor belt or forklift can be a dangerous profession – and not just because you might have an accident. Musculoskeletal disorders, otherwise known as Gradual Process Injuries (GPIs) are a major problem in industrial settings. Their cause is simple: inadequate work station set-up.

In my practice as a corporate chiropractor, I’m starting to see patients with injuries caused by poor workstation ergonomics more and more often.  These Gradual Process Injuries can affect the nerves, tendons and muscles and can make it very painful for an employee to use his hands, wrists and arms.  Sitting in the same position for long periods can also lead to neck and lower back pain. The key word here is gradual: often we don’t notice these injuries until it is too late, because they are the result of a slow build up of problems, and not one significant injury.

Why are these problems so common?

Before the industrial age work was not as specific as it is today.  People use to perform many tasks throughout the course of the day, which meant the demand on muscles and joints also varied throughout the day.

By contrast, in today’s office environment people sit in front of  computer for hours on end, only getting up for the odd bathroom break or lunch.  The same problem applies in industry. Sitting on a forklift all day is equally as harmful as sitting in front of a computer. As for working on a conveyor belt, we have specified down tasks to such a degree that a worker can be performing the same highly limited set of movements over and over again. By ignoring our body’s basic requirements to do a variety of tasks, we’re inviting pain and discomfort.

Fix your ergonomics

These problems occur when workstation setups don’t conform to basic ergonomic principles. If you implement these principles in your workplace for all staff, a lot of pain, injury, wasted time (and wasted money) can be avoided.

  • All movements should be performed within the ‘ergonomic window’ – the range of body movement in which a worker can safely operate. Anything that is an unnatural movement should be avoided
  • All controls should be within your grasp, no more than an arm’s length away
  • Your feet should be flat on the floor with your thighs well supported on the seat
  • The backrest of the chair should be adjusted so that it will fully support your back
  • Lean the backrest slightly backwards – neutral to approximately 20 degrees behind vertical is good
  • Your elbows need to be close to your body- not splayed, and you back should be kept straight, not bent sideways
  • Ensure items that you use regularly are within easy reach
  • Vary your posture frequently and do stretching exercises to reduce the risks

Proper ergonomics in the workplace can do wonders for staff health and therefore morale – surely a wise investment for all of us.

About

Dr Marcus McAllister is trained in the knowledge of the musculoskeletal system (meaning the muscles, bones and joints) and nervous system (which coordinates all activities and functions) of the human body.  Dr Marcus McAllister is licensed by the Office of Radiation to take x-rays to help locate underlying conditions to treat you with the best knowledge.  Dr McAllister graduated from the New Zealand College of Chiropractic and is a member of the NZCA.  As an ACC Accredited Primary Healthcare Professional, Dr McAllister has undergone ACC training in Preventing & Managing Discomfort, Pain & Injury.

For more info on Dr McAllister’s courses for safe lifting practices (Manual Handling) and workstation setup & posture (Office Ergonomics) or Chiropractic in the workplace go to www.drmac.co.nz

 

Written by Dr McAllister for Industrial Safety News (ISN) Magazine | Autumn 2011, Volume 6, Issue 1.

Why Taking a Proactive Approach to Staff Healthcare Makes Business Sense

A couple of weeks ago, I contacted ACC and asked them for the most up to date workplace injury statistics. It turns out that just under a third of all ‘paid out’ workplace injuries are related to lifting. As of the end of last year, there are 67,000 active ACC claims, all thanks to bad lifting technique in the workplace.

The statistic is part of a deeper problem. 75 percent of all New Zealanders suffer back pain at some stage of their lives. This makes back pain New Zealand’s number one occupational health and safety problem. Back injuries are now a major factor affecting the performance of our workforce.

Over my 18 years of involvement in the transport and logistics industries, I’ve seen the effects of poor lifting techniques time and again. While many of the people I see have one-off injuries caused by poor lifting techniques and heavy or awkward shifting loads, many others are dealing with chronic injuries where they have been twisting or bending incorrectly for many years.

In the past, many companies simply reacted to the occupational health problems of their employees after the fact. Today, many have realised that this putting out fires approach no longer works.   More organisations are now taking a proactive approach to health and wellbeing care in the workplace, implementing a variety of onsite training programmes.

The approach makes business sense. The happier and healthier your staff are, the more likely they are to stay with your company, and the less you will have to spend on hiring and training new staff members. Chiropractic care in the workforce boosts morale, encourages productivity and makes the people who work for you feel that their employer is taking an active interest and stake in their health and wellbeing.

The Mainfreight Group of companies and PlaceMakers branches in the North and West Auckland area are great examples of organisations that have taken this proactive approach.

For the past three years, I’ve been assisting both companies in areas as wide as recognising the key elements of safe lifting, understanding how lifting aids and equipment can help reduce the risk of injury, how to identify good and bad lifting practice, how to evaluate handling tasks to identify risks, knowing how musculo-skeletal injuries can occur and how to prevent them, and how to select and use appropriate types of lifting and handling aids.

Thanks to their diligence, these two companies have achieved their health and safety goals by educating their people on the risks of sustaining musculo-skeletal disorders at work. Their example shows that if you provide suitable training and implement other risk-lowering methods, you can greatly reduce muscular-skeletal disorders amongst your staff.

In my next piece, I’ll explain how to identify good and bad handling practices and what to cover when training your staff in handling techniques.

About

Dr Marcus McAllister is trained in the knowledge of the musculoskeletal system (meaning the muscles, bones and joints) and nervous system (which coordinates all activities and functions) of the human body.  Dr Marcus McAllister is licensed by the Office of Radiation to take x-rays to help locate underlying conditions to treat you with the best knowledge.  Dr McAllister graduated from the New Zealand College of Chiropractic and is a member of the NZCA.  As an ACC Accredited Primary Healthcare Professional, Dr McAllister has undergone ACC training in Preventing & Managing Discomfort, Pain & Injury.

For more info on Dr McAllister’s courses for safe lifting practices (Manual Handling) and workstation setup & posture (Office Ergonomics) or Chiropractic in the workplace go to www.drmac.co.nz

 

Written by Dr McAllister for Industrial Safety News (ISN) Magazine | Winter 2011 Volume 7.

Good lifting raises productivity and employee health

In my previous piece, I looked at how implementing a workplace training programme for leaning manual handling techniques, makes a lot of business sense.  In this article, I’d like to take you through some practical steps in hat needs to be covered in such a programme and how to recognise good and bad handling in your workplace.

When lifting is required, six stand steps can be applied as outlined below:

  1. Assess the muscular effort required. Make sure the place where the load is to be put down is clear of obstructions.
  2. Stand close to the load with feet apart so that you have a balanced stable base for lifting.
  3. Don’t bend your back. Bend at the knees and keep your back straight as possible.
  4. Get a firm grip and move the load close to your body.
  5. Do not jerk the load – lift it smoothly. Be especially cautious of reaching down and behind, this movement places a severe strain on your body.
  6. Always keep your arms and the load close to your body and when turning, use your feet rather than twisting.

Manual handling

These days, manual-handling training is more than just a nice-to-have.  Under the Health and Safety Act, employers must be seen as being proactive and responsible for the safety and well-being of their staff when at work.  ACC’s new legislation makes you as an employer legally responsible to protect your workers from harm. That means you are obliged to address and change poor ergonomics and unsafe lifting practices that can lead to discomfort, pain and injury for your staff.

A third of all injuries the workplace are the result of lifting r handling heavy or awkward loads. This is a hazard common to every workplace, whether it be an office, retails shop floor, warehouse, showroom, factory or construction sites.

Injuries that arise form manual handling in the workplace are commonly known as musculoskeletal disorders, or MSD.  MSD does not always happened due to a one-off strain and just some of the factors can be the result of:

  • Awkward or abnormal posture
  • Stressful movements and forces
  • Environmental factors such as heat, cold and vibration
  • Declining physical fitness and age

Changing the way your staff members go about lifting and manual handling can have real and immediate effect for the better.  Not only will they be relieved or pain and the danger of serious workplace injury but you will start seeing the business benefits of better moral, lower staff turnover and fewer ongoing costs.

About

Dr Marcus McAllister is trained in the knowledge of the musculoskeletal system (meaning the muscles, bones and joints) and nervous system (which coordinates all activities and functions) of the human body.  Dr Marcus McAllister is licensed by the Office of Radiation to take x-rays to help locate underlying conditions to treat you with the best knowledge.  Dr McAllister graduated from the New Zealand College of Chiropractic and is a member of the NZCA.  As an ACC Accredited Primary Healthcare Professional, Dr McAllister has undergone ACC training in Preventing & Managing Discomfort, Pain & Injury.

For more info on Dr McAllister’s courses for safe lifting practices (Manual Handling) and workstation setup & posture (Office Ergonomics) or Chiropractic in the workplace go to www.drmac.co.nz