In my teens, I did plenty of home workouts where I most certainly was not using the proper form. Thanks to what I presume was a faster recovery rate as an adolescent, muscle or joint pains didn’t really affect me.
Then I got a little older. My poor posture while working led to upper body aches and even carpal tunnel syndrome along the way. I ended up having to find a physiotherapist who rehabilitated me to a fairly normal state after about 3-4 months.
A similar experience was shared by Stephanie Choo who was treated for her spinal deformity. Over the course of her rehabilitation, her admiration of her chiropractor grew into inspiration, and she ended up founding her own chiropractic centre, SPINEPLUS, as an adult.
A little time and TLC
Active in sports and ballet, Stephanie was brought to a chiropractor at the age of 19. Her family noticed that her posture was leaning to one side, and she was diagnosed with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis, in other words, curvature in the spine.
Stephanie began regular treatment, starting with twice a week sessions, before it was reduced to once a week, and fewer after that.
“My chiropractor was very professional, gentle, and knowledgeable throughout my whole experience with her, and what I really love about her was her interpersonal skills,” Stephanie told Vulcan Post.
The chiropractor would consistently chat with Stephanie during her sessions, instead of just delivering the treatment for the sake of it. Through her experience, Stephanie gained insights into the industry, which in turn sparked her interest in it.
So, she took a Bachelor in Science (Honours) Chiropractic at International Medical University (IMU). During her semester breaks and free time, she’d also shadow some chiropractors for observation learning.
This led to her certification as a chiropractor under the Association of Chiropractic Malaysia.
Chiro centre meets cosy café
Chiropractic treatment involves spinal manipulation, generally known as “bone cracking”.
“However, what sets chiropractic apart from any other form of cracking, is that chiropractors are trained professionally to deliver specific spinal manipulation to your spine and joints,” Stephanie informed.
She believes that chiropractic treatment should be a lifestyle, since most will encounter situations that cause misalignments in the spine, such as sports injuries, bad posture, prolonged sitting, and more.
Located in Sunway Geo, the interior of SPINEPLUS is meant to emulate a cosy cafe, to break the norm of a “sick” or “blue” feeling healthcare centres tend to give off.
“After all, it’s already frustrating enough to be suffering from back pain, neck pain, or headache that you cannot wait to get rid of,” added Stephanie. “If possible, I would open a café right in front!”
WFH was the backbone of public awareness
SPINEPLUS was established in 2020, right around the end of the pandemic’s first wave which was well controlled and slowly decreasing. However, nearing the centre’s official launch in October, the second wave hit and adjustments had to be made.
“One of them was, we could not hold an official public opening ceremony and lost out on some publicity but we just have to make do with it,” recounted Stephanie.
It took some time for business to pick up and Stephanie’s first patients consisted of friends and family. Some of the patients who Stephanie previously treated while in training also reconnected with her.
From there, word of mouth spread and business is picking up today.
Due to WFH culture, I’ve seen more people become aware of the importance of proper posture to curb musculoskeletal pains. We’ve even written about a handful of companies facilitating good WFH ergonomics in the past two years, including Alterseat and Balak’s.
Stephanie agreed, sharing that people have become more aware of seeking treatment for their musculoskeletal pains. This, in turn, was a catalyst for her business’s growth.
SPINEPLUS treats now 10-15 patients a day, seven days a week to accommodate everyone, as the team understands that most working patients can only drop by over the weekend.
Promoting affordable relief
Staying in line with Stephanie’s belief that chiropractic treatment should be a lifestyle, the centre’s treatments range between RM100-RM150.
Having visited other chiropractic and physiotherapy centres before, I’d say that SPINEPLUS’s prices are actually quite affordable. From personal surveying, I’ve seen most centres charge an upward of RM150 per session, and prices only go higher depending on the body parts involved.
“Chiropractic treatments are actually not costly, it is a very common perception to only seek quick relief when you have unbearable pain,” Stephanie noticed. “By then, the treatment to help with the extreme back pain that you are suffering would cost way more than seeking care earlier.”
She elaborated, “In the beginning, chiropractic treatment may be as often as two to three times a week, as more adjustments are necessary to correct years of misalignments and nervous system interference in someone.”
After correcting misalignments and restoring proper spinal position, she stressed that regular maintenance visits are still necessary. This is so that patients can get the most out of the health benefits that chiropractic care has to offer.
People may think that this is several more visits than you would ever make to a hospital as you only go if you are sick, injured, or in pain. While that may be true, chiropractic care is about prevention, proactive health care, and overall wellness, the recurring visits are a small price to pay to maintain optimal health.
Stephanie Choo, licensed chiropractor and founder of SPINEPLUS
Recently, Stephanie obtained her certification on the Webster Technique from the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA). It’s a specific technique that targets to help pregnant ladies, and isn’t commonly practised in Malaysia yet.
This has widened her area of expertise, and she’s now actively helping mothers-to-be with their back pain and back-related concerns throughout their pregnancy journey.
Stephanie’s plans to grow SPINEPLUS remain modest, given that the centre is still relatively new. Rather than expansion, she’s first aiming to grow her team and their outlet to the fullest potential to provide more patients with quality care.
- Learn more about SPINEPLUS here.
- Read about other Malaysian startups here.
Featured Image Credit: Stephanie Choo, licensed chiropractor and founder of SPINEPLUS