Back Pain

Lets face it- nobody enjoys pain, yet almost everybody suffers with back pain at one time or another. Back pain may vary from a slight niggling ache to sharp debilitating back pain that can affect many parts of the back and also radiate to other areas of the body (see sciatica). As the saying goes- 'there is no smoke without fire', well the same could be true about the causes of your back pain. Chiropractors will usually find the specific tissues responsible for the back pain (smoke) but will also dig deeper to work out what sort of stress in your lifestyle is causing the issue (fire). Some causes of stress on your spine include bad posture, poor seating, unsupportive beds and pillows, incorrect lifting, sedentary lifestyle (sitting too much), trauma, sports injuries, pregnancy, "wear and tear" the list goes on. As these stresses build up, your spine may adapt or fall into a misaligned position, causing pressure on the spinal nerves- in the Chiropractic profession these misalignments are commonly called subluxations- therefore problems and pains may start to occur. Your Chiropractor will aim to identify the source of your problem, give treatment to correct the subluxations, and advise how to best reduce the stressors to keep it from recurring.

Neck Pain

The body has a remarkable capacity to compensate for stress and injuries but our spines can only take so much before neck pain results.

Today's modern lifestyle is very much responsible for many of the problems in the neck and shoulder area. Subluxations, poor work and computer posture, repetitive tasks, stress and disuse of the full range of motion of the neck can cause neck pain, discomfort, muscle tension in the neck, shoulders and at the base of the skull. A history of accidents, injuries and poor posture can further increase the stress and strain in the neck area and present as neck pain.

Furthermore these problems may also be associated with frequent headaches due to irritation of nerves in the upper neck region.


Most people don't associate headaches as coming from spinal misalignment, yet it is a very common scenario. Because headaches are so common, most people think it is normal to have headaches- NOT TRUE! Painkillers might give some relief from your headaches, but they do not address the cause of the problem.

There are many different types of headaches. Tension headaches have been shown to account for up to 80% of all headaches and are often associated with our hectic lifestyle and stress on the body.

Migraines can be very debilitating and disturbing, some symptoms may include visual and hearing disturbances, sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, even vomiting. It is extremely common that headaches and dizziness can be related to neck misalignments pressing on the spinal nerves  and also stress on the cranium. Our Chiropractor has additional training in effective cranial techniques specifically for headaches, so if you have ‘tried everything’ to reduce your headaches, try Palm Beach Chiropractic.

Please note: If your headache problem is not a Chiropractic case, you will be referred to the appropriate health care provider.


Sciatica literally means inflammation to the sciatic nerve. This nerve stems from the spinal nerves in the lower back and runs all the way down the back of the leg and into the foot creating pain, weakness or pins and needles down the leg. Leg pain doesn't always mean there is something wrong with the leg itself. Because of the way our nervous system functions, you may for example, have pain in your foot when the problem actually lies in your lower back and all too often this is the case. A very common and often excruciating cause of sciatica may be from disc bulges.

Disc Bulges and Injuries

The intervertebral discs are the shock absorbers in between each and every spinal vertebra. On the outside they are layer upon layer of very tough fibrous material, while the inside remains more gel-like. Technically discs cannot 'slip', because of the way they are attached to the vertebra above and below. However, they can tear, bulge, herniate, collapse and even rupture.

The physical changes in the disc will cause abnormal function in the joint and can result in local pain. The bulging disc can compress and irritate the spinal cord and nerves and produce very sharp back pain and also pain in areas distant from the site of the problem. Sciatic pain in the leg is a good example.

Shoulder Pain

The shoulder is a very complex joint that is made up of 4 different articulations- Gleno-humeral, acromio-clavicular, sterno-clavicular and scapulo-thoracic. Each individual joint should play its role in the correct functioning and movement of the shoulder girdle. The gleno-humeral joint is responsible for the majority of shoulder movement and is a ‘ball and socket’ type joint. This enables multi-direction movement but also predisposes it to trauma and repetitive strain injuries. As a Chiropractor, Dr Cater sees many sports related shoulder injuries but also desk posture and repetitive strain type shoulder conditions. He uses specific muscle testing procedures to identify the specific tissues responsible for shoulder pain and follows a shoulder correction procedure involving soft tissue releases, Chiropractic adjustments and joint mobilisations to achieve greater results and better tissue healing. Shoulders are very complex joints and so the healing and strengthening process will always involve home rehabilitation including stretches, strength work and/or theraband exercises that the Chiropractor will personally prescribe and demonstrate.

Sports Injuries

Being an active sportsman himself, Dr Paul Cater realises the importance of sports injury maintenance and correction. Most importantly when our spine, nerves and skeletal structures are correctly balanced with Chiropractic adjustments, our bodies work more efficiently and we are mechanically stronger. Chiropractic care promotes healing but also reduces our chances of injury and tissue damage. For example if we have poor alignment and posture through our lower back and pelvis (sometimes called short leg syndrome) this may change the effectiveness or symmetry of the muscle contractions within our hamstrings, groin, quadriceps or hip flexors muscles and eventually lead to fatigue, tightness or even complete tearing. Also incorrect hip, knee, ankle and feet alignment may sometimes attribute to calf strains, plantar fascitus or 'shin splints'. The same principle can be applied to the neck posture and shoulder alignment and may cause sports injuries and problems like rotator cuff, tennis elbow and wrist problems. All sports injuries are different and you will need a thorough examination to determined if your case may be benefited by Chiropractic intervention. 

Almost all professional sports teams globally utilise a Chiropractor as part of their medical staff. Dr Cater was lucky enough to work alongside some of the best European sports Chiropractors during his stint in the United Kingdom including the Chiropractors for Everton Football Club, Bolton Wanderers, Bury Football Club and the Greenedge cycling team.

Dr Cater supports local sporting clubs and volunteers his sports Chiropractic care locally at the Gold Coast challenge triathalon, Palm Beach AFL club, Gold Coast Stand up paddle boarding meets (SUP be fit) and Kingscliff District Football Club where he is a major sponsor.

Remember all injuries take time to heal. Whilst Massage is extremely important to speed recovery from sports events and training, you may need to look deeper to the underlying skeletal structure. Combining massage with Chiropractic care may give you the extra sporting edge you have been looking for..... 

Cranial Therapy

As Chiropractors we always talk about being doctors of the nervous system- so where does the nervous system start?? The brain, which is safely encased in the skull. Our skull seems like an immovable structure but there are many different bones that make up the skull and the fibrous junction where the bones meet, actually allowing some very slight and important movements. It is very important in some Chiropractic cases to assess the cranium and provide some small cranial movement changes so the skull can function properly and the nervous system can flow properly from the brain to rest of the body. Cranial therapy is particularly important in kids and babies, especially those children that have experienced a traumatic birth process (see paediatrics section).

Prevention and Maintenance

We all know the saying ‘prevention is better than cure’, well your health is no different. If we want to be truly fit and healthy we need to live a healthy lifestyle!! This involves eating well, exercising regularly and correctly, getting the appropriate rest and recovery but also maintaining regular health checks. Since your spine and nervous system is central to the health of your body, why not give it some great maintenance and look after it. Most of our patients discover Chiropractic because of an ache or pain, but they stay to be well. 


At some stage in our lives we all experience an accident, slip or a fall to varying degrees whether it is in a motor vehicle, a tumble learning to walk, a knock playing sports or embarrassingly tripping on the gutter crossing the road. Even a seemingly innocuous accident can cause our spinal alignment to change and set in motion some bad skeletal movement patterns, causing a cascade of adaptation from the body and even the start of the degeneration process in joints (research has shown this process can start as young as 2 years old if movement is restricted in the joints). This is why we recommend periodic Chiropractic check ups to maintain a correct alignment and optimum function of the nervous system. This is also why we recommend to get your kids checked too, as many problems we see in adults may have been greatly helped earlier on in life with correction of the proper joint alignment. 

Please note: If your accident is serious in nature, Dr Cater may refer you for X-rays. Palm Beach Chiropractic is situated next door to South Coast Radiology- so if X-rays are required, our referral system is quick and the results are instantly relayed back to our Chiropractor.

If your problem is deemed not a Chiropractic case, you will be referred to the appropriate health care provider.



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Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "More than just a chiropractor. His knowledge and expertise is amazing. With james, when your back's in line, you'll feel fine!"
    Lou A.
  • "Highly recommend James as knowledgeable and educated chiro. Easy going but very professional."
    Troy P.