Dr Mike Santamaria(osteopath) 5 tips to help Neck Pain!

Top 5 Causes of Neck Pain:

There are many reasons that we experience neck pain. Some are obvious, some are very hard to diagnose. Luckily, the common ones happen commonly, the rare ones happen rarely…you can quote me on that! Here are the top 5 causes that we come across in the clinic.  Talk to one of our Melbourne Osteopaths for any help  with this complex issue!

  1. Posture

Unfortunately most of us still live very sedentary lives. The angles that a desk and chair places our neck and spine contributes heavily to the stiffness and strains we feel in our neck. Even the best posture will impact your neck to some degree. Standing Desks have made some noticeable differences. If set up correctly, the strain on the neck can be significantly reduced in Stand-Up desks.

  1. Stress

This can often be overlooked. Patients will often come in and say,”I’ve done nothing to it, but it’s just really sore these past few weeks”. Then we will inquire about work or home and they will say, “Oh yeah I’ve been under a lot more stress in the past few weeks.” Stress absolutely manifests itself physically in the body and the shoulders, neck and head are the most common places we see it.

  1. Facet strain

Facets are the joints of the neck. Each vertebra connects with the vertebra above and below it. If these facet joints move out of place slightly and don’t return to their normal position, the body senses that and will react accordingly. The reaction we experience is normally a muscle spasm that creates pain. Inflammation can also result adding to the overall pain stimulation. Facet strains can result from repetitive strains, fast and unexpected movements and fatigue due to overuse as might been seen in going to the gym for the first time in a long time.

  1. Disc bulge

A disc bulge can be asymptomatic but it can also be very painful. The disc that is located in between the vertebra can be damaged either through trauma or overtime through degeneration. The disc can bulge in various directions, impacting the spinal cord or more commonly the nerve roots that arise from that part of the spinal cord. Localised pain can be coupled with referred pain and even some numbness and weakness into the arms and hands.

  1. Thoracic spine referral

Pain can refer down or up the spine. Parts of the Autonomic Nervous System (the system that can control the automatic functions in your body such as breathing or heart-beating) can control pain into other parts of the body. Sections of the thoracic spine (the mid-back spine) control pain into the head and neck and can often create headaches. Almost everytime you present with neck pain, your Osteopath will check your thoracic spine to see if it is influencing your neck pain.

Our Osteopaths can help with treatment and advice of all these common causes of neck pain. And there are also plenty of take home exercises that can help prevent these causes as well.

Dr Mike Santamaria – Osteopath

City Osteopathy

Before Going to a Back Pain Clinic in Melbourne, Here are Natural Remedies You Can Do At Home

Image of an Old man with back pain

Chronic back pain hurts your quality of life. Despite multiple treatment solutions, you still suffer from nagging pain. Before you visit a back-pain specialist for specialised assessment and treatment, here are home back pain remedies that you should try at home.



  • Induce natural endorphin release


Endorphins are hormones that are naturally produced by the body. One of their lesser-known functions is to block the transmission of pain signals to the brain. Also, endorphins reduce stress and feelings of depression, both of which are related to worsening chronic back pain symptoms.

So how do you increase the production of endorphins? Simple activities such as working out, massage therapy, and meditation are proven to increase the concentration of endorphins in the bloodstream resulting in pain relief.



  • Sleep is key


There is a connection between chronic back pain and sleep. Individuals suffering from insomnia experience an exacerbation of chronic back pain symptoms. Consequently, they are unable to get enough sleep. It is important to address the cause of pain or find ways to reduce the pain sensation to get adequate sleep. This vicious cycle will stop once you can sleep at least 7 to 8 hours at night.



  • Core exercises are a must


The muscles in the abdominal region play an important role in supporting the muscles along the spinal region. To reduce pain, it’s important to implement exercise routines that specifically target the core muscles. Simple core exercises such as planks and sit-ups can resolve back issues over time.

If these simple home remedies fail to resolve chronic back pain, schedule a back pain assessment with our specialists. Call us on 03 9663 5450 for the best and most affordable back pain solutions today.

Training for the Summer Races like Pier to Pub, 7 Peaks…

Blog: Training for Summer Races by one of our Melbourne Osteopaths.

Written by our osteopath Melbourne, Dr Matthew Franz.

As you all know trying to get back into the swing of training and planning for that big summer race can be hard when life gets in the way. Whether you’re doing a triathlon or in my case trying to attempt another Pier to Pub swim, here are some of my tips to get you back into training:

Working out your fitness base and modifying your goals:

Often getting back into training is hard and people set their training goals too high. They find that after 4-6 weeks their body starts to break down. In most cases the body’s tissue capacity can’t meet the training load/intensity that is placed on it, which results in a trip to your favorite osteopath. So before you do any form of training, it is crucial to work out your base line of training and go from there. Using popular fitness apps such as Runkeeper or ISwim to work out your fitness base, will allow you to modify your training load to make it more realistic.

Training Zones:

Once you start to develop and build up your training, it’s important that we are training at the right intensity no matter the type of event. This is to ensure that the body has the ability to adapt and improve. Often this can done by determining your max heart rate and then using a percentage of your max heart rate to meet the training zone. For example: if your max heart rate while training is 190bpm you could start off training making sure to stay within 65-75% of this, depending on the type of race. If you struggle to find the right zone, the internet provides a great resource to get a better understanding. In order to improve, it’s important we are gradually progress the training intensity so as to adapt in the best possible way.

Training Consistency is key:

When deciding to do a race, one of the hardest parts of training is finding the time to fit it into your daily schedule. Often life can get busy, so we need to make sure we are allocating the right amount of time to training each day. The important thing is that we are doing the sport specific training at least once/twice a week. For example for a triathlon, we want to at the minimum be doing a running, biking and swimming session. Some of these sessions can take longer than 30 minutes so finding the consistency is hard! Write it in the diary and stick to it like any other appointment.


Working out a balanced training plan:

Often 3 months out from Raceday, we can get bored of training and as such lose a bit of focus. To avoid this make sure you review your training load and schedule roughly 6-8 weeks.  This is to make sure that your plan is balanced, effective and fresh. It may mean that you will need to change some of your training – it could be training in different locations (beach vs pool) or finding another form of sport to meet those training zones. The key is to identify training sessions that aren’t working due to being impacting by other life commintments and change them to suit your needs. This will ensure you have a balanced mix of high-benefit workouts that have specific purposes.

Recovering and Preparing the Mental Battle:

It is so important that we make sure that this component plays a major role in your training. You should prepare to peel back some of the intensity of training to allow your body to recover, have adequate sleep and eat well.  The important thing is to listen to your body and as always use your Osteopath to help you with this.

By Dr Matthew Franz Osteopath at City Osteopathy

Three Self-Care Tips for Neck Pain Melbourne

image of a Woman experiencing Neck pain

The causes of neck pain are multifactorial. According to neck specialists, they may range from poor posture, depression and injuries, neck strain among others. Unresolved neck pain is detrimental to one’s safety and overall wellness. Hence treatment options and remedies should be implemented once causative factors are identified by a cervical spine specialist in Melbourne.


In this article, we will enumerate simple but effective neck pain relief measures you can do at home.


  • An important pointer when resolving neck pain issues is limiting physical activities and using pain medication for pain relief, as a majority of neck pain cases are due to muscle strain.


It’s important to take it easy if you feel acute pain following strenuous physical activity. If you experience acute pain, take a few days off from working out or from executing rigorous physical activities to allow neck muscles to unbind and recover. A neck specialist may also prescribe taking over-the-counter medications for immediate relief from pain and discomfort.


Ice and heat application

Ice pack and heat pack applications are simple but effective solutions that deliver neck pain relief. The basic rule is to ice the affected part of the neck with an ice pack for the first 48 hours, then use heat pack compression in the next few days. Ice and heat compression or application are effective solutions for neck pain caused by muscle or ligament strain.


Physical therapy and rehabilitation exercises

Seeking help from a neck pain specialist guarantees fast recovery from pain or injury to the neck. A trained cervical spine specialist will provide you with exercises, proper lifting, and walking techniques that will help reduce neck pain, strengthen the weak parts of the neck, as well as prevent injuries from happening altogether.

To get more information about neck pain relief solutions or if you wish to schedule an appointment with our neck pain specialists, simply reach us on 03 9663 5450 today.

Hamstring Injuries – explained using Jordan De Goey!

You may have heard that Collingwood football club star Jordan De Goey has flown to Germany to see world renowned hamstring specialist Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt in a bid to play in the 2019 AFL grand final.

De Goey who had just returned for a 6 week hiatus due to a hamstring strain, suffered an injury to the same hamstring in the first minute of the qualifying final against Geelong. He initially thought it was just tightness and continued to play on. Until later on in the game he felt it tighten again and was diagnosed with a hamstring strain.

The timeframe to return for a hamstring injury depends on the severity.

A grade 1 strain is typically 2-3 weeks.

A grade 2 strain is 3-6 weeks

A grade 3 strain is 6 weeks +

The man labelled a ‘hamstring guru’ with over 40 years experience; Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wolfarht has treated celebrities before, including Christiano Ronaldo, Usain Bolt, Boris Becker and Bono from U2. But most importantly for the Collingwood faithful he has helped out with Current players Jamie Elliott and Darcy Moore with their hamstring.

So what exactly does a treatment from the ‘hamstring guru’ entail?

His practice employs a unique mixture of homeopathic medicine (treatment with natural substances) and dry needling.

The staple of his treatments is what Müller-Wohlfahrt calls “infiltrations.” These are homeopathic preparations and other substances that are injected into the injury site:

So for Jordan De goey it entails an injection into his injured hamstring.
The injections range from exotic proteins like Actovegin, which is derived from calves’ blood, and lubricating substances containing hyaluronic acid and antioxidants.

Muller-Wohlfahrt has stated he has administered “far beyond” a million such injections through the years, at least half of these to athletes.

Whilst De Goey had been ruled out of the Preliminary final against either Brisbane or Greater Western Sydney, Magpies fans were hopeful that this hail mary attempt could get their superstar match fit for a grand final.  Alas, we know what happened there….. :((

Dr Daniel Castellano, City Osteopathy



The Top 5 Quick and Effective Migraine Treatments in Melbourne

Image of a middle-aged blond woman having a migraine

Headaches and migraine attacks are debilitating neurological conditions that can severely reduce the quality of life of their sufferers. They can come as mild, uncomfortable attacks to extremely unbearable bouts that can disrupt one’s daily routine.

Although there are several over-the-counter medications that can target headache and migraine symptoms, it’s recommended by many health experts to try conservative and natural remedies first. Here are the top 5 quick and effective remedies to treat and manage migraine effectively.


1.    Magnesium Supplementation

Magnesium is an important mineral as it delivers a host of positive effects on our health and overall wellness. One of its core functions is to reduce muscular tension..

Supplementing the diet with 600 mg of oral magnesium is thought to reduce the severity and frequency of both migraines and headaches.


2.    Reduce Alcohol Intake

Studies show that excessive alcohol intake can trigger migraines and headaches in some people. This is due to its vasodilating properties which widen blood vessels resulting in headaches. Also, alcohol is a known diuretic that can lead to a loss of fluid and electrolyte. Limiting alcohol intake can greatly reduce the incidence of migraine attacks.


3.    Avoid Intake of Food Items that Contain Histamine

Histamine is a chemical that is common in certain food items such as fermented foods, cheese, cured meats, beer, wine, and smoked fish. It also occurs naturally in the body as it plays a host of important bodily functions. Individuals who are sensitive to histamine suffer from headaches and migraine attacks when they ingest histamine-containing foods. By avoiding the intake of food items mentioned earlier, you can significantly reduce the incidence of migraine attacks altogether.


4.    Inhalation of Essential Oils

Essential oils are highly concentrated liquid solutions that contain healing compounds from plants and flowers. They are thought to deliver therapeutic effects for a wide array of conditions. If you suffer from migraine attacks, we highly recommend for you to try inhaling peppermint and lavender oil. You may also apply a small amount of these essential oils to the temples for quick pain relief.


5.    Applying a Cold Compress

Applying a cold compress on the neck and head regions will alleviate the discomfort and pain related to headache and migraine attacks. The cold temperature helps in reducing inflammation, constricting blood vessels, and slowing down nerve conduction, hence providing instant relief.



If all these natural headache and migraine remedies don’t work, it’s best to consult a migraine specialist in Melbourne. To schedule an appointment with us, simply call us on 03 9663 5450 today.