An interview with Sydney Osteopath Dr Marcus Ng

In this short video, Quay Health clinic owner Physiotherapist and Osteopath Dr David Aboud interviews Quay Health’s newest Osteopath Dr Marcus Ng.


Dr David Aboud: Hey guys. Just wanted to introduce you to our new osteopath, Dr Marcus Ng. Welcome, Marcus.


Dr Marcus Ng: Thanks Dave.


Dr David Aboud: We wanted to get to know a little bit more about Marcus, and introduce him to the practice. I guess being an osteopath Marcus, I always like to ask people where their journey in osteopathy started, so can you tell us a little bit more about that for you?


Dr Marcus Ng: Yeah, yeah. I’ve always had a keen interest in the human body and how it works. Naturally, after school, I did a bachelor of science in anatomy. After the three years, there wasn’t too much of a career choice, and I didn’t want to be a mortician, so I took on further studies and found my way into massage, through TAFE.


Towards the end of that course, we had a osteopath come through and talk about what they did. At the time, it wasn’t something I was actually familiar with. That particular talk actually really sparked me into finding out more of what osteopaths did.


After that, I enrolled in another five years of studies in the osteo course, through the University of Western Sydney. With the nine years of studies, I kind of felt like that was enough, and since then I’ve been an osteopath for eight years now.


Dr David Aboud: Okay, really cool. Obviously you’ve been in practice for eight years, with nine years of study, you would’ve learned about a lot of conditions, and now you’ve seen and treated lot of conditions, so what are the sort of areas you like to treat, or you specialize in treating?


Dr Marcus Ng: We see a whole bunch of different conditions, as you know. I see a lot of sporting injuries, lower back pains, the sore shoulders. I find the most rewarding ones are the acute neck pains, the early morning phone call, trying to get in to see somebody to help them, because they’ve woken up with a sore neck, and that they can’t turn, or it’s too much pain to turn.


Even though I find when those patients come through, just in that first session, to be able to give them that range of motion back in their neck, and reducing their pain, so they can carry on with the rest of their day, that to me is definitely the most rewarding.


I mean, as you know, at the clinic, we treat a whole bunch of stuff, anything that walks through the door, we can help them.


Dr David Aboud: That’s really good. I guess having that interest, it’s great being in the Sydney CB, with a lot of busy people having quite a sedentary type workplace. Clearly, neck pain is quite a common condition.


Dr Marcus Ng: They kind of always sit like this at the desk with computers, yeah.


Dr David Aboud: Sure. It’s great. I know you are quite active outside of being an osteopath, so tell us a little bit more about what you enjoy doing.


Dr Marcus Ng: Sure. My passion and hobby is definitely in basketball. I’m a huge San Antonio Spurs fan, I’m a big NBA fan. I guess to bring back to how basketball and my interest in osteo, is the injuries that the players get. My particular team has our best player’s out at the moment with a quadriceps tendinopathy.


I kind of just find the day-to-day resting of healthy players and player injuries in the NBA fascinating, as well as obviously watching the games.


Dr David Aboud: That’s really cool. Well, thank you Marcus, it’s been really enjoyable getting to know you a bit more, and we enjoy having you around the practice.


Marcus will be with us full-time in the practice, so we look forward to seeing you, and I’m sure he looks forward to seeing many new faces that he can help in the future. Thanks guys.


Dr Marcus Ng: Yeah, absolutely.


shoulder impingement – the cause of most shoulder pain – explained!

Do you have shoulder pain? 

At Quay Health we are fortunate to have a fantastic personal training and group fitness studio on the ground floor of our building called Actual Fitness. As a PT studio, pushing people towards their physical and mental limits is all in a days work, however a recurring frustration for many of the clients and PT’s that stops them from achieving this is pre-existing shoulder pain that limits what the client can and can’t do.

Having shoulder pain while exercising can be frustrating, and can often lead to someone thinking  ‘maybe exercise is not for me’. Now, while taking time off from exercise to rest or recover from an injury is sometimes necessary, taking time off ‘forever’ and giving up on your health and fitness goals for good is not a great long term plan! Luckily, the PT’s know that the best long term outcomes come from their clients having their shoulder looked at, the cause of their pain identified, and a lasting solution put in place- and that’s when I get the call!

What causes shoulder pain?

If I were to list off every possible cause of shoulder pain, I could fill a text book. Luckily however, in the context of ‘office-workers who work out’, most shoulder pain can be labeled ‘shoulder impingement’ or ‘sub-acromial impingement’, so if this is you (office worker with shoulder pain), read on and I’ll explain a little about what is happening in your shoulder.

Anatomy of sub-acromial impingement

Anatomy of the shoulder The bone on the tip of your shoulder is called the Acromion. Between the Acromion and the humerus (your upper arm bone) is known as the ‘sub-acromial space’ (sub= ‘under’. As in ‘submarine).

The acromion therefore is the bony structure that forms the roof of this space and the humerus forms the floor. Diagram 1 explains this well.

In this space there are three main structures: 1) the Supraspinatus tendon (part of the rotator cuff), 2) the long head of the biceps tendon (not the short head) and 3) the subacromial bursa.

‘Sub-acromial impingement’ occurs when  one of these three structures is pinched.


Causes of sub-acromial impingement 

The sub-acromial space is usually about a ‘pinky width’ in space. If the space is adequate, most people won’t get pain. If the space is narrowed however, one or all of these three structures can become impinged and produce pain.

The three main causes that lead to sub-acromial impingement are:

  1. Poor posture causing the scapula (shoulder-blade) to tip up and forward (also known as a ‘winged’ or ‘elevated’ scapula)
  2. A hooked acromion – that is, excessive bone formation due to trauma (quite rare)
  3. Wear, tear, swelling and or degeneration- from internal structures repetitively rubbing in this space due to occupation or sport.

Most research however has found that the cause of these symptoms are generally the tendon, especially when the injury progresses into tendinopathy.

Symptoms present mostly when you try to perform an overhead activity or exercise, such as swimming freestyle, throwing a ball, or lifting a weight above your head in a PT session!

Shoulder impingement syndrome
Why does sub-acromial impingement develop?

Sub-acromial impingement is a very common condition and seems to affect sedentary people who try to get back to exercise. Given that posture is the most likely cause of this injury, it is best that you start by trying to stretch your pecs, lats and rotator cuff. You can also use a trigger ball or foam roller to improve your mobility.

What to do about it?

If you shoulder pain is disrupting your work, your sleep or your exercise- avoid the cortisone injection and have an Osteopath or Physiotherapist have a closer look to identify the specific causes and contributing factors to your pain. A combination of hands-on treatment, some simple exercises and specific stretches, and possibly some work-place modifications will lead you towards a full recovery- allowing you to get back into the activities you enjoy doing without worrying about pain.

Quay Health is now under new management!

David Aboud Physiotherapist and OsteopathAs many of you may know, Quay health is under new management and I would like to formally introduce myself Dr David Aboud as the new director.

Briefly, I have worked in the musculoskeletal and back injury sector for 10 years, as an Osteopath and a Physiotherapist. I am a born and bred Melbournian but fell in love with Sydney three years ago when I moved here to complete my Doctor of Physiotherapy. As part of that program I was fortunate to be part of large scale back pain research and recently had a paper published in The Spine Journal (north America). I returned to Melbourne about 12 months ago and I was fortunate enough to manage a large CBD based practice, everything I learnt gave me the drive and motivation to pursue my own venture.

Quay health presented an excellent platform for me to utilise my experience in the industry, particularly working with CBD based populations and to reignite my love affair with Sydney. The Sydney CBD is one of the fastest redeveloping cities in the world, with major reconstruction and redevelopment taking place in the Wynyard and Circular Quay districts and the rapid growth in Barangaroo, we are in the heart of all the action!

I wanted to share my first realisation and observation of the Sydney CBD based population that differs from Melbourne. With the major mode of transport being train, bus or taxi/uber the streets are busy with people walking everywhere. Due to the trams in Melbourne, the streets are not as busy and people tend to hop on the free trams to get anywhere. This made me wonder what will happen when the light rail takes off early next year, will people opt to take the light rail from circular quay down to Mid-city or Town hall or will they still opt to walk? This is where my Osteo and Physio thinking cap tends to take over and makes me wonder what this will do to the general and musculoskeletal health of the Sydney CBD population.

My Advice as a Physiotherapist and Osteopath is that your 20-30 minute walk at lunch is invaluable for your overall health and I would strongly advice that if you are coming to visit us up at Quay Health or that you are simply popping out for a meeting or lunch, that you opt to walk. Walking is the simplest thing we can do for our general and musculoskeletal health.

Over many years I’ve been consulting clients, I find that their injury is generally related to small lifestyle factors like sitting too much, not moving enough and not participating in enough physical exercise. If you are suffering from back pain and would like to know more about what you can actively do to resolve this,  come visit us at Quay Health- I look forward to meeting you!

Visit David’s profile page here.