A few days ago, my friend had a sudden severe pain in his neck, it has been on and off for the last couple of years. He is a writer and we all agree that poor posture is at the root of his problem; too long sitting at a computer. The pain stops him sleeping, exercising or getting comfortable in any position.
NHS answer –
A visit to the GP (because he was ‘lucky’ enough to get an appointment) where he was loaded up with painkillers, including Naproxen, Co-codamol and Tramadol (aka heroin, opium, narcotics, laudanum – especially bad for someone with a slightly dicky liver) and then in 4 – 6 weeks time physio and if that doesn’t help and the problem continues, maybe an MRI Scan of his neck. but probably not for a few months, to see if he might need surgery for his soon-to-be chronic neck pain,
Expert answer –
Step 1 – Make the diagnosis through an urgent MRI scan and provide painkillers as required
Depending on the diagnosis and the severity of the injury
Rest the affected part, pain relief, ice packs
Step 2 – Allow ample time for healing and then gradually start treatment and rehabilitation. The more severe the injury, the longer the time needed for healing eg
a – Large disc prolapse – might need urgent surgery to take the pressure off the spinal cord and nerves
b – Smaller disc prolapse – likely to get better on its own – may still take two to three months
c – Chronic and degenerative changes – rest and painkillers, get over the acute episode and then physio, osteopathy, Alexander Technique to work on the postural problems.
d – Normal looking scan – less serious and almost certainly a largely muscular injury where early physiotherapy, as with whiplash, gives best results
Everyone needs to improve their posture. Poor posture causes disc disease, that includes too much sitting, slouching, the wrong type of exercise, repeated injuries, stress and generally weighing more than one should
Alexander Technique and Pilates are good for posture, Chiropractitioners are also good at freeing up stiff joints, as are sports masseurs. But all need to be followed up by an exercise programme that focuses on postural alignment.
It is easy to see that we are creatures who have come down from swinging in the trees more like an Oran Utah than something raised to its hind legs like a Bear. Our skeletons, not least our pelvis is very different from the Bear who has nothing like the grace and range of movement of a Great Ape
The NHS approach means you muddle along for months, even years, while your body degenerates with obesity, diabetes etc from lack of proper exercise and your mind degenerates whilst it becomes addicted to the bliss or otherwise of opiates spiced up by memory loss and early dementia.
The technological approach means you get an immediate diagnosis, a rational, effective and efficient treatment plan. And you can be back in the swing of things within two or three months.
The London Imaging Centre are onto the problem. You can have an MRI scan within hours for as little as £200, less than the cost of a weekend’s entertainment
All you need is a referral form signed by your doctor, NHS, or private or Health Care Professional such as a physiotherapist.
Overall, more harm is done, at least in this country, by failing to diagnose serious problems than by allowing a few of our more anxious citizens an extra bit of time and few extra resources. Technology can go some way to restoring our faith in the claims of modern medicine. Technology can and must replace a non-specialist, general practitioner with a three-week waiting list for a first appointment.
When the quality of your life and your future health is at stake, there is no other choice. Technology is at the heart of human progress and the greatest triumph of Western Medicine, we need to embrace it, not retreat to the Dark Ages