Escaping the hot and dry Aussie summer, Bronwyn has been Christmas market hunting in Germany!
Shane Heslop had a lovely time with family over the Chrissy break. A new pool was put to the test with all the mega hot days we experienced coming in to great use, and a very nice day at the boxing day test with my youngest boy and my father was greatly enjoyed.
Whilst they did not go away, Shane and fam are gearing up for a Japanese holiday for the last two weeks of January culminating in a week at the snow at Nozawa Onsen. Lets hope it snows a little bit more, its been a shocking start to the Japanese snow season with tiny amounts of snow compared to what should be normal.
There is much debate within the medical profession, and even within back surgeons themselves whether spinal fusion surgery is a valid treatment option.
Last year, the government announced plans to stop surgeons billing Medicare for spinal fusions to treat uncomplicated chronic low back pain.
After lobbying from surgeons, the federal government has reversed plans to stop funding a back pain operation critics say is expensive, dangerous and ineffective.
The changes followed a recommendation from pain specialists that there was no evidence spinal fusions helped people with lower back pain.
Spinal surgeon Professor Ian Harris, who has published several studies critical of fusions, said the government’s reversal showed that “doctors and surgeons have too much power, and the government is scared of them and happy to take the path of least resistance”.
We see lots of patients pre and post spinal fusion surgery. Some patients feel like they desperately need the surgery. Its always their own decision to make. But the negative outcomes can be severe so patients should always explore ALL conservative options first, and that includes seeing your own Melbourne Osteopath.
Peter Lockhart has extensive clinical experience from working across Northern New South Wales and South-Eastern Queensland. He is excited to have relocated to Melbourne to start his own family and be close to his partner’s family. Throughout his career, Peter has treated various populations including athletes and weekend warriors as well as families and office workers.
Peter is a dedicated osteopath who enlists a modern approach to pain management. He was initially fascinated with the principles of osteopathy, particularly the understanding of interconnectedness within the human body. His style of treatment blends progressive pain academia with classic osteopathic techniques. Peter uses a wide range of methods including trigger point work, strain counter strain, mobilisation, manipulation, dry needling, and exercise rehabilitation.
Peter prides himself on offering experienced pragmatic management strategies coupled with clear communication. Pete’s treatments focus on pain mitigation, improved functionality and the promotion of patient resilience. He integrates his experience as a personal trainer to best solidify ongoing pain relief.
Outside of work, Peter is a passionate surfer, basketballer and food lover.
The Grattan Institute have released a proposal to make hospital visits and surgery more cost effective. Read on….
Private health insurance premiums could be cut by up to 10 per cent if private hospitals were made more efficient and stopped over-servicing.
A handful of ‘greedy’ doctors charge their patients more than twice the official Medicare Benefits Schedule fee.
Only about 7 per cent of all in-hospital medical services are billed at this rate, yet these bills account for almost 90 per cent of all out-of-pocket costs for private hospital patients – and patients are often not told of these costs in advance.
Some doctors also charge ‘booking fees’ on top of procedure and consultation fees. These covert fees are not recoverable from private health insurance or Medicare – the patient is left to foot the bill.
The higher fees have nothing to do with the skill of the surgeon or the adequacy of the Medicare Benefits Schedule. The small minority of specialists who charged more than twice the schedule fee are simply greedy.
If these high-charging specialists had imposed fees at 50 per cent more than the schedule fee but no more, patients would have saved more than $350 million in 2018-19
Patients are in the worst position to negotiate fees with their specialist. Quaint pamphlets which encourage patients to ask their surgeons about fees shift responsibility from those who can effect change – doctors, private hospitals, insurers, and government – to those who can’t: powerless patients. How unfair! Can you imagine patients having any power to negotiate specialists fees! I recall an operation for a hernia 8 years ago. I had top private health insurance. No choice re anaesthetist, not told there was an assistant surgeon, 3 weeks post surgery given a bill for $600 for anaesthetist and $300 for the assistant. Who were these people?! And how much money does an anaesthetist need to earn!? If you calculate they were also most likely paid by medicare, my private health fund, AND by myself, and the surgery took an hour maximum, what is their daily wage!!!???
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!
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.