FAQ’s

What should I wear to my appointment?

It is best to wear loose comfortable clothing, such as a tracksuit or shorts and a T shirt. Patient Gowns are available and can be requested during treatment.

Can I claim through private health or medicare? How much will I get back?

Payment is required at time of consultation, cheque, cash facilities and EFTPOS are available. Visa & Mastercard are acceptable (not Diners or Amex).

All allied health services are claimable through private health extras cover, this includes physiotherapy, osteopathy, clinical pilates, dietetics, psychology, exercise physiology and remedial massage. Most services can be claimed at the time of your appointment through our HICAPS facility. Please check with your health fund on the rebate you will receive for a particular service, depending on your level of private health cover. Don’t forget to bring your private health fund card to your appointment otherwise payment is required and your receipt can be presented to your health fund for claiming.

All medical appointments are claimable through medicare, including musculoskeletal medicine, neurology, sports medicine, injections and medical accupuncture. The gap (out-of-pocket expense) ranges from $30 to $130 depending on the type of treatment. Your rebate can be claimed on the spot if you provide your medicare card and an eftpos (Savings or Cheque) card.  Your rebate is automatically deposited into your eftpos account (funds cannot be deposited into a credit card account), after the full amount of the invoice is paid.

Do practitioners at Brighton Spinal Group treat injuries in relation to Workcover or TAC claims?

Workcover and TAC patients are treated at Brighton Spinal Group. A referral is required from your GP stating the appointment is required in relation to your workcover or TAC injury. Please provide the clinic with your claim details, including name of insurer, date of injury and claim number or verification that your employer is prepared to pay for your appointment. Without these details, you will be required to pay at the time of consultation (and then seek personal reimbursement). Exercise Physiology appointments require prior approval, the physiologist upon receiving your referral will contact your insurer with the cost of your exercise program. Approval generally takes 2 to 3 weeks.

TAC patients who were not admitted to hospital are required to reach a threshold of $564 out of pocket expenses before TAC will fund treatment. Further information regarding workcover and TAC claiming process is available at:

www.worksafe.vic.gov.au

www.tac.vic.gov.au

Do I need a doctor’s referral to come to Brighton Spinal Group?

If you are a workcover or TAC patient you require a referral. All doctors appointments require a referral except for Dr Victor Wilk (without a referral a medicare rebate is not available). If you have a long term injury or medical history, it is helpful for your treating practitioner if you provide as much information as possible. Xrays or MRI scans are not required, however past scans can help with your diagnosis so bring along with you all reports, X-ray films and doctors letters.

Do you have parking available?

Parking is available at our main clinic in our front car park or via Warriston Street to access the car parking at the rear. The Clinical Pilates studio has two hour street parking available at the front of the building. Visit our contact us page for further information.

I have a bad back, who should I see?

Our practitioners are all highly qualified and specialise in spinal related pains and joint conditions. Depending on your problem a variety of therapies may be of assistance. Massage therapy can assist general tension, muscle stiffness and soreness from day to day living, but if your problem relates more to joint restrictions one of our osteopaths or manipulative physiotherapists may be more helpful. If you are looking more for exercises then see one of our physiotherapists or exercise physiologists who can guide you through a program in our on site gym or Pilates studio. If you have a chronic or complex condition, or have seen various practitioners with little or no relief, it may be best for you to see our musculoskeletal physician. For further details visit our musculoskeletal page. If you are unsure who to see please contact our reception team by phoning 9596 7211 or email healthpromotion@brightonspinal.com.au.

Who should I see for a sports injury?

For minor sprains and strains some massage can free up tight knots in the muscles. Physiotherapists and osteopaths treat most acute injuries, but if your problem requires expert assessment and possible X-rays and scans, our Sports Physician Kal Fried is best consulted ( a referral is required to see Kal).

What are the differences between Physiotherapy, Osteopathy and Chiropractic?

All 3 professions have a focus on Treating pain and dysfunction through manual therapy and movement. There is considerable overlap of all 3 professions. Some key differences in a nutshell are:

Physiotherapists take a more traditional medical approach to diagnosis and as well as manual therapy tend to focus more on exercises to restore movement.

Osteopaths feel for restrictions of movement of the spine and treat these using a variety of techniques from massage to manipulation (cracking the joints).

Chiropractors tend to use X-rays more to diagnose malalignments and use mainly manipulation to shift things back into place.

When it comes to problems that respond to manual therapy, there is little to suggest that one profession is more effective than another. No research to date has shown that any particular technique or method is superior. The reality is that the result of treatment depends more on individual technical skills and experience than the particular discipline a practitioner belongs to. Manual therapy is a learned skill like painting, dance or music, and depends on knowledge of anatomy, natural aptitute and practice over time. Some achieve better results than others.

At Brighton Spinal Group you can rest easy, we have the most experienced and able manual therapy practitioners in Melbourne.

Physiotherapy

A physiotherapist has completed a four year degree and treats problems in four broad areas:

  1. Minor orthopaedics (strains, aches and pains)
  2. Major orthopaedics (broken bones and joint replacements)
  3. Neurological conditions (strokes)
  4. Chest problems (pre and post chest surgery, emphysema, asthma)

The first group, minor orthopaedic conditions are commonly treated in private practice and respond well to manual therapy. The next three groups mostly receive physiotherapy in hospital; and as such manual therapy plays a small part in their recovery. A musculoskeletal physiotherapist has completed a twelve month post graduate diploma in manual therapy.

A physiotherapy assessment includes a comprehensive musculoskeletal examination to diagnose primary joint, soft tissue and muscle dysfunction. A wide variety of manual therapy treatment techniques are implemented to restore normal body function.

Mobilisation techniques (small rhythmic oscillations) are central to a musculoskeletal physiotherapist’s treatment methods and are preferred to manipulation (joint cracking). They are seen as a safe and effective way of treating joints, whereas manipulation is more difficult, takes longer to learn and incurs a slight risk. A physiotherapist also uses electrotherapy (ultrasound or interferential therapy), heat packs, supportive braces and exercises, and has close relations with the medical profession. You could consult a physiotherapist for rehabilitation after a fracture or cerebral stroke as well as everyday aches and pains.

Most physiotherapists also prescribe exercise to improve the body’s range of movement, flexibility, co-ordination, strength and fitness. Traditional exercise prescription can be in the form of clinical pilates, gym based exercises, supervised exercise, home exercise programs and hydrotherapy. At Brighton Spinal Group we have the added advantage of our onsite gymnasium.

Osteopathy

An osteopath has completed a five year double degree and specialises in the management of conditions that respond to manual therapy (strains, aches and pains).

A long appointment (about 30 minutes) with gentle treatment and few visits (average 4-6) are the hallmarks of osteopathy. A typical treatment may begin with massage focused to areas of painful muscle tension. Soft tissue massage is an important element of an osteopathic approach. Then movements (articulation, mobilization and stretching) will relax and free up the deeper soft tissues (ligament, disc and deep muscles). Finally, gentle manipulation (joint cracking) can loosen the most inaccessible tissues and release stuck joints.

The graded sequence of steps is comfortable, relaxing and highly therapeutic. The therapy improves blood flow and chemical exchange, which promotes the physiology of healing and pain resolution. You could consult an osteopath for a musculoskeletal problem that is long standing, keeps recurring or has ‘done the rounds’ with other therapies.

Chiropractic

Chiropractic treatment is based on the theory that all ill health is caused by misalignment of the spine and that local therapy can restore alignment and resolve symptoms of illness. A chiropractor has also completed a five year double degree and specialises in the management of conditions that respond to manual therapy. Chiropractors have successfully used marketing to become the most numerous, visible and best known complementary medicine profession.

Speedy 15 minute appointments averaging 12 visits and promotion of regular ‘check ups’ (a maintenance program) are some of the hallmarks of chiropractic treatment.

In a typical treatment a chiropractor gives ‘adjustments’ to the spine. An adjustment varies between gentle oscillations of a joint, similar to a physiotherapist’s mobilization, to the more familiar joint cracking that manipulation is known for. There is less emphasis on time consuming massage. Appointments are slightly more frequent and maintenance therapy is recommended. The profession endorses the idea of drug free therapy. You could consult a chiropractor for the same manual therapy disorders (strains, aches and pains) as an osteopath or physiotherapist.

Information

Brighton Spinal Group specialises in spinal pain and injection therapy in Melbourne including regenerative treatments such as Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections. The following information is provided for education purposes and as general advice. The topics may or may not relate to you individually. Please speak to your health practitioner or GP for professional guidance before taking any action as a result of reading this information. Please contact Brighton Spinal Group to make an appointment with one of our specialists who will be able to provide a full comprehensive assessment of your condition.

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis is a Rheumatic disease of unknown cause that primarily affects the back bone or spine. The involvement of the sacro-iliac joint (the junction of the bottom of the spine with the pelvic bones) is one of the hallmarks of the disease.

Click to view Handout (PDF) Ankylosing Spondylitis

Blomberg Injection Technique

The site of injection is into the sacro-coccygeus muscles, which are the remnants of the tail muscles of animals. Animals use their tails to help them with balance. As we don’t have a tail, one theory is that these muscles may go into spasm in response to an injury. The pain from these deep muscles may be difficult to localise and can be felt in the low back , buttock or spreading down the leg.

Click to view Handout (PDF) Blomberg Injection Technique

Chronic Pain

The definition of chronic pain is pain lasting longer than 3 months. In practice we usually use this term for persisting pain that continues beyond the time we normally expect for healing of a torn ligament or broken bone.

Click to view Handout (PDF) Chronic Pain

Disc Degeneration

The process of disc degeneration occurs over a long period of time and the exact cause is unknown. However, recent studies have postulated that the initial process that begins degeneration may be a small crack in the end plates of the vertebral bodies.

Click to view Handout (PDF) Disc Degeneration

Disc Prolapse

A quite common, painful disorder of the spine, in which the outer layer of an intervertebral disc ruptures and part of its pulpy core protrudes, causing painful and sometimes disabling pressure on a nerve. About 95% of disc prolapses occur in the lower back, but they can affect any part of the back or neck.

Click to view Handout (PDF) Disc Prolapse

Epidural Caudal Injection

Epidural injections have been used in the treatment of back pain and sciatica for about 90 years. The use of epidural injections has seen some controversy in the 1980s because of the use of cortisone. Since that time, the National Health and Medical Research Council has determined that there are no definite adverse effects with the use of cortisone in epidural injections.

Click to view Handout (PDF) Epidural Caudal Injection

Epidural Neck Injections

Epidurals are also used to treat disc prolapses in the neck with associated shooting pains into the shoulders and arms ( known as radicular pain or brachialgia). Treatment of disc prolapse where there is irritation of the nearby nerve causing severe pains shooting into the arm and when conservative treatment hasn’t helped within a week or two of onset.

Click to view Handout (PDF) Epidural Neck Injections

Epidural Transforaminal Injection

A new more precise technique of transforaminal epidural injection has been developed with the assistance of C-arm fluoroscopy (a high tech X-ray machine that looks at the spine from all directions). In this instance the needle is aimed under X-ray guidance directly between the nerve root and the corner of the disc.

Click to view Handout (PDF) Epidural Transforaminal Injection

Facet Pain

The facet joints are the small joints at the back of the spine. They control the movement of the spine. They are generally non-weight-bearing joints, but in heavier people the lower facet joints of the lumbar spine do become weight-bearing and this can add to pain.

Click to view Handout (PDF) Facet Pain

Facet Joint Radiofrequency Denervation

Radiofrequency denervation (RFD) or neurotomy is a procedure used to numb pain from the facet (zygapophyseal joints) of the spine. The procedure involves using an electrically generated current that is passed down a thin needle to heat up and deactivate the small nerves deep in the spine that receive pain signals from the facet joints. These nerves are located at the back of the spine.

Click to view Handout (PDF) Facet Joint Radiofrequency Denervation

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia itself is not a disease in itself, but the term is used to describe people complaining of widespread aches and pains in the muscles and joints throughout the body, combined with sleep disturbance and fatigue. The problem is four times more common in women than in men, and the age of onset is between 30 and 40.

Click to view Handout (PDF) Fibromyalgia

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder (also known as Adhesive Capsulitis) is a fibrous reaction of the ligaments of the shoulder joint that occurs probably in response to an inflammatory event in the shoulder. It may follow some trauma around the shoulder, but at times it occurs spontaneously.

Click to view Handout (PDF) Frozen Shoulder

Headaches

It is estimated that about 50-80% of the population have a headache at some time in their life. At any one time headaches affect about 20-50% of the population. An Age newspaper survey recently revealed that 19% of the population suffer from regular headaches, most of these having been diagnosed as migraine-type headaches.

Click to view Handout (PDF) Headaches

Low Back Pain

Pain originating from the lower back may spread to other adjacent areas. The pain may spread up the back, or more commonly down to the buttocks, to the sacrum and coccyx area, and also down into the legs.

Click to view Handout (PDF) Low Back Pain

Neck Pain

Pain originating from the neck may spread to other adjacent areas. The pain may spread up to the head, or down to the upper back, out to the shoulders and also down into the arms. Pain spreading into the arms may not necessarily be due to pinching or irritation of nerves, but may come from deeper structures in the lower neck that tend to produce a deep dull aching type of pain spreading elsewhere.

Click to view Handout (PDF) Neck Pain

Prolotherapy

Otherwise known as dextrose prolotherapy involves injecting of a mixture of Dextrose (glucose) and local anesthetic into painful ligaments and joints. The idea was to cause thickening, tightening and strengthening of the tissues through scarring. Studies confirm that indeed the results lead to about a 40% increase in collagen fibre strength and cross sectional area of tendons and ligaments. Dextrose prolotherapy has also been shown to reduce pain in arthritic joints.

Click to view Handout (PDF) Dextrose Prolotherapy

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type 1 is a pain disorder often developing unpredictably following a variety of injuries. Commonly the condition may follow a fracture or crush injury of a hand or a foot. It can also come on after local spinal strain or injury.

Click to view Handout (PDF) Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

Sleeping Tips

There are a number of different types of insomnia, including difficulty getting off to sleep (sleep onset insomnia), early morning waking, poor quality or light sleeping, pain related insomnia, and worry insomnia.

Click to view Handout (PDF) Sleeping Tips

Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is a condition where there is forward movement of one vertebra upon the one below.

Click to view Handout (PDF) Spondylolisthesis