Your guide to insurance reimbursement at

Okinawa Sports and Spinal


Your guide to insurance reimbursement at Okinawa Sports and Spinal 

“Can I claim for my physical therapy, chiropractic and massage expenses at your clinic?”

The short answer is usually yes if you have international insurance such as foreign service benefit plans (FSBP) like those from Aetna, Cigna Health, Blue Cross or other medical insurance company plans covering DoDEA staff, GS and NAF employees, and defence contractors.

Many of our clients have found the process very easy over the last few years by simply submitting our receipts for reimbursement from their insurance provider through online portals.  We are happy to provide item and treatment codes on receipts if needed when you let us know what insurance company you are with. 

We are unable to accept Tricare and Japanese national health insurance (NHI) claims.  You are most welcome to pay out of pocket to use our expert services.

We can provide receipts for claims on most travel insurances for tourists and visitors.

If you would like to know more about claiming for chiropractic, physical therapy, and massage services we recommend you first contact your insurance provider for more information.



The Okisports and Spinal team will be having a meeting on Friday the 22nd of March on Kourie island to plan how to improve our service so the clinic will be closed on this day.

We will be re-open from Saturday the 23rd of March.

For appointments with an English speaking Physical therapist, Chiropractor or Sports Massage therapist please use our online booking service. 



Okinawa Sports and Spinal will re-open on the 4th of January 2024.

We are taking a break visiting family back in Australia and Brent is also working up in the Niseko Ski season over this period.

Kerry, Naomi and Brent would also like to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Xmas, happy new year and thank you very much for your support over the last 6 months as we set up the first multidisciplinary off-base in clinic in Okinawa. 

If you would like to schedule an appointment in the new year please go to 




Headaches are a universal human experience, with various types causing discomfort and disrupting daily life. In this article Okinawa Sports and Spinal aims to delve into the most common types of headaches and explore how manual therapies, including Chiropractic, Physical Therapy, and Massage, can provide relief.

Understanding Headaches

Definition and Classification

A headache is defined as pain or discomfort in the head or neck region. The International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD) categorizes headaches into primary and secondary types. Primary headaches, such as tension-type, migraine, and cluster headaches, are not associated with other medical conditions. Secondary headaches result from another condition, like sinusitis or head injury.

Before your headaches are treated at Okinawa sports and Spinal it’s important that we understand what type of Headache you have as this will affect the treatment modalities are best suited to your condition.

Types of Headaches

1. Tension-Type Headaches (TTH)

Tension-type headaches are the most common type, affecting people of all ages. They are characterized by a dull, persistent pain that feels like a tight band around the head. Stress, poor posture, and muscle tension contribute to their onset.

Tension headaches also respond best to manual therapy and are the most common types of headaches that we treat at Okinawa Sports and Spinal.

Role of Manual Therapies:

  • Chiropractic Care: Spinal adjustments and mobilizations aim to improve spinal function, reducing tension in the muscles and promoting relaxation. Many tension headaches are caused by spasm of the sub-occpital muscles and just addressing the tone on these muscles can have profound results.
  • Physical Therapy: Exercises targeting neck and shoulder muscles, along with postural correction, can alleviate tension and reduce the frequency of tension-type headaches. Our Physical therapist Kerry Staples also incorporates some trigger point and other manual therapies in his treatments.
  • Massage Therapy: Techniques like Swedish massage and trigger point therapy help release muscle tension, providing relief from tension-type headaches. Massage can actually be quite effective for tension headaches, particularly when there is a strong stress component.

2. Migraine Headaches

Migraines are recurrent, severe headaches often accompanied by other symptoms like nausea, light sensitivity, and visual disturbances. They result from abnormal brain activity and can be triggered by various factors, including hormonal changes, certain foods, and stress.

If you are getting an ” Aura ” where you can see flickering dots and disturbed vision before your headaches, not responding to standard headache medication like paracetamol, are one sided and really ” put you out of action ”  it’s likely that you have a migraine rather than just tension headaches and these need to managed a little differently than tension headaches.

Although migraines are believed to be primarily vascular we have found that neck issues are often a contributing factor. 



3. Cluster Headaches

These ones are nasty !

Cluster headaches are excruciatingly painful headaches that occur in clusters or cycles. They often involve one-sided pain around the eye and are accompanied by symptoms like nasal congestion and eye watering.

The pain is often described as ” the worst imaginable ” and also tend to affect males more commonly than females. 

The evidence for manual therapies for the management of cluster headaches is less than tension and cervicogenic headaches but we have had some positive results.


4. Sinus Headaches

Sinus headaches result from inflammation of the sinuses, often due to allergies or infections. They are characterized by pain in the forehead, cheekbones, and bridge of the nose.

If you are suffering from congestion and tenderness over the cheekbone, have a history of allergies or recent infections sinus headaches are strong possibility.

When we see Sinus headaches at Okinawa Sports and Spinal we also need address the underlying cause of the inflammation. Using a salt water ” Neti pot ” is also a good co- management strategy here.

Our Chiropractor and Physical therapist also do Sinus work and some pressure work over the cranials bones as well.

5. Cervicogenic Headaches

Cervicogenic headaches originate from the cervical spine and result in pain that radiates to the head. Poor posture, neck injuries, or cervical spine issues can contribute to their onset.

These respond very well to Chiropractic and Physical therapy mobilizations in the upper thoracic spine. 

It’s also important to address some lifestyle and postural changes when you suffer from Cervicogenic headaches. Having a work desk ergonomics assessment is good idea and also taking regular breaks from sitting have been shown to make an improvement in the frequency and duration of cervicogenic headaches. 



Manual Therapies: A Closer Look

1. Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care focuses on the relationship between the spine and the nervous system. Chiropractors use manual adjustments to restore joint function and alleviate pain.


  • A study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy was effective in reducing the intensity and frequency of tension-type headaches.
  • Another study in the European Journal of Neurology suggested that chiropractic spinal manipulation could be a safe and effective treatment option for migraines.

2. Physical Therapy

Physical therapy involves exercises, stretches, and other interventions to improve musculoskeletal function and reduce pain.


  • Research in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy indicates that physical therapy, including neck exercises and manual therapy, can be effective in managing cervicogenic headaches.
  • A systematic review in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders suggests that physical therapy interventions, such as exercise and mobilization, may be beneficial for tension-type headaches.

3. Massage Therapy

Massage therapy involves hands-on manipulation of muscles and soft tissues to enhance relaxation and alleviate pain.


  • A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that massage therapy was effective in reducing the frequency and intensity of migraines.
  • Research in the International Journal of Neuroscience suggests that massage therapy can lead to a decrease in tension-type headaches by promoting relaxation and reducing muscle tension.

Headaches are complex, multifactorial conditions that can significantly impact the quality of life. Manual therapies used down at Okinawa Sports and spinal  including Chiropractic, Physical Therapy, and Massage, offer valuable approaches to managing and alleviating various types of headaches. While the evidence supporting these therapies is promising, individual responses may vary, and a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach is often recommended for optimal results.

If you suffer from chronic headaches, it’s crucial to consult with healthcare professionals to determine the most suitable treatment plan for your specific needs. By understanding the nuances of each headache type and the potential benefits of manual therapies, individuals can make informed decisions on their journey to headache relief and improved well-being.

Okinawa Sports and Spinal is well experienced in the management of headaches and we would love the chance to help you in Okinawa manage your headaches.

If you would like to make a booking click the link below




Asia Physio now provides custom bike fitting at Okinawa Sports and Spinal.

  • Comprehensive history of your background, cycling past, and goals
  • Musculoskeletal measurements such as flexibility, core strength and the alignment of your bones and feet may be assessed
  • Measuring your bike and your joint angles when pedalling, observe your technique
  • We can provide aerodynamic advice with regard to body position, hydration systems and bike setups to make you faster (separate analysis)
  • Lastly, after compiling all of the relevant information and correlating this with your personal goals, we can adjust your bike to create your comfortable, fast and pain-free riding position



Click the link below to book your bike fit and get riding this winter







Sports Massage Discount Offer


Okinawa Sports and Spinal is offering 20% off Sports Massages with Naomi Matheson until the 27th of October.

Sports massage differs from relaxation massage in that it is deep pressure target at specific muscles to better aid recovery and increase your performance.

As well as offering Sports Massage in Okinawa Naomi also has experience in pregnancy massages and can also do relaxation massage upon request as well.





Self Care Reminder with Naomi Matheson

I just wanted to drop in and remind you how important it is to show yourself some compassion and selfcare.

While we recommend forms of selfcare at Okinawa Sports and Spinal in the forms of Massage; Chiropractic and Physical Therapy there are other simple things that you can do to simple stop and slow down. Like take a walk outdoors; go for a swim, read a book, listen to your favourite music or whatever grounds you.

In a world where productivity and outcomes tend to be our evaluation of our own self-worth, I want to remind you that “you are enough”. Don’t allow the speed and noise of the outside world trap you into believing anything less.

Sports Massage

My guide to booking your appointment.

Massage is my eyes is a holistic approach to physical care. When you visit me for massage I will ask general questions about your current physical status – how you’re feeling? Is there anything limiting your day-to-day life/ physical training? Not that there needs to be anything wrong – but I care, and I want to help you get the most out of your massage session.

Please never think that you should wait until you are feeling pain to make an appointment to have a massage. Prevention is better than cure. Maintenance is the best form of selfcare and ensure your body is functioning at its best.

Quick guide:

30min appointment – 1 specific problem – very focused – not my preference as a therapist. As I like to work on both sides of the body.

45min appointment – 1-2 specific problems that you want to work on. I personally struggle with providing a 45 min massage as I want to provide a balanced treatment.

60min appointment – my favourite – maintenance 1 -3 areas of concern. We have time to work through both sides of the body and provide a balance assessment and treatment.

90min session – I’ve been neglecting my body for far too long and need a complete overhaul.


Hot of the press

We are very proud to be welcoming American trained Chiropractor Ariel Thorp who has kindly offered to come to Okinawa and help out whilst Brent is in Australia catching up with family and eating descent cheese again. 

Ariel will be establishing in new clinic in Tokyo so hopefully some of my long suffering Tokyo clients may be very happy to hear to this and we will keep you up to date with new developments in Tokyo but in the meantime she will be briefly joining the Okinawa sports and Spinal team for one week from the this Thursday the 28th to help manage the growing demand. It will be her first trip to Okinawa so I hope you can help make her feel welcome. 

Ariel is also available for weekend appointments on the 30th Sept and 1st of October for those juggling the pressure of the 9 to 5 grind or sharing child care duties.  

About Ariel

Dr. Ariel Thorpe helps people live healthier through chiropractic care and holistic health education. After experiencing her own transformation from burnout working in finance to optimal, sustainable healthy living with chiropractic care, she made a career shift to help others achieve their own health goals.

She ran a private practice in San Francisco for 5 years before returning to her childhood home of Hong Kong in 2020, where she joined a multi-doctor practice. She recently moved to Tokyo with her partner and two cats. She will open a new practice there this fall. 

Outside of chiropractic, Ariel is an avid trail runner, ultramarathoner, and cyclist. She is enjoying the challenge of learning Japanese and exploring this beautiful country on foot and bike.



Chiropractic adjustments have long been a subject of curiosity and amougst the public.

One of the most intriguing aspects of a chiropractic adjustment is the distinctive popping or cracking noise that often accompanies the procedure. This sound has sparked questions and misconceptions among patients and the general public alike. Okinawa Sports and Spinal would like to delve into the science behind the popping noise in a chiropractic adjustment, debunk some common myths, and provide a clearer understanding of what’s happening during this therapeutic technique.

The Chiropractic Adjustment: A Brief Overview: Chiropractic adjustments, also known as spinal manipulations, are a cornerstone of chiropractic care. Chiropractors use their hands or specialized instruments to apply controlled, sudden force to a specific joint in the body, typically the spine. The goal of these adjustments is to improve joint mobility, alleviate pain, and enhance overall function.

The Popping Noise: An Explanation: The popping noise that occurs during a chiropractic adjustment is often attributed to the release of gas bubbles within the joints, specifically synovial joints. These joints are found throughout the body, including the spine. Synovial fluid, a lubricating substance, is present within these joints. This fluid contains dissolved gases, primarily carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and oxygen. This of how the gas can come out of a can of coke once there is a pressure change when you pop the lid. 

When a chiropractor applies force to a joint, the joint space may slightly separate. This sudden separation can lead to a reduction in pressure within the joint, causing the gases dissolved in the synovial fluid to form tiny bubbles. As these bubbles form, they create a distinct popping or cracking sound. This phenomenon is similar to the sound that occurs when you open a carbonated beverage, where the release of gas creates a popping noise. 

Dispelling Myths:

  1. Bone Cracking: Contrary to a common misconception, the popping noise is not the sound of bones cracking or breaking. Chiropractors who apply controlled force to the joints, ensuring safety and efficacy.
  2. Immediate Pain Relief: While the popping noise might provide a satisfying sensation, it’s important to note that relief from pain or discomfort after an adjustment isn’t solely attributed to the noise itself. The adjustment aims to restore joint mobility and alleviate pressure on nerves, which can contribute to pain relief. Often just putting a specific force through a joint is enough to trigger the reciprocal inhibition caused by the nervous system reducing the tone our muscles.  

Safety and Effectiveness: Chiropractic adjustments are generally considered safe when performed by qualified professionals. However, it’s crucial to undergo a thorough examination before receiving an adjustment to determine if you’re an appropriate candidate for the procedure.

The popping noise heard during a chiropractic adjustment is a result of the release of gas bubbles within synovial joints. It’s a normal and harmless occurrence, akin to the sound of opening a carbonated beverage. Chiropractic adjustments aim to improve joint mobility, alleviate pain, and enhance overall function. While the popping noise can be intriguing, it’s important to remember that the true benefits of chiropractic care stem from the expert application of controlled force and the restoration of proper joint function.

If you’re considering chiropractic care, Okinawa Sports and Spinal will do our best to ensure ure a safe and effective experience.

Okinawa Sports and Spinal. Quality off-base Physical Therapy and Chiropractic
1F 1-477 Miyagi Sunabe
Chatan-Cho Okinawa

Copyright by Okinawa SportsandSpinal 2023

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