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What does a Kiwi tradie have to do with the opioid epidemic?

There was a bloke in New Zealand that stepped off a ladder in the mid 90's. Unfortunately under the ladder was a very large nail sticking out of a piece of wood. The nail went through the one inch sole of the safety boot, through the sock, pierced the leather and screamed out the other side of the boot. The burly Kiwi dropped like a tonne of spuds screeching in pain. Ambulances were called. They weren't sure what to do with the bloke with the nail sticking out of his boot, they dosed him with painkillers but it made little difference. So to be safe they took the man, the boot, the nail and the wood the nail was attached to to the hospital as one big less than happy family. In the hospital everyone kicked into gear pretty quickly, a team of nurses arrived, prepped the burly kiwi for the surgeon. The doctor got some high grade industrial scissors and slowly but surely sliced through the leather of the safety boot being extremely careful not to jolt the foot. The poor man was still in agony. But as the doctor got down to the pointy end of the boot and sliced through the sock something strange was noticed. The nail that had passed through the one inch sole and screamed through the other side of the boot had passed between the toes. The nail had not punctured the skin.

What? Is he a wimp?

Not at all. Well what happened then? He stepped off a ladder felt something in his foot, looked down and saw a nail sticking through his boot. Now in this moment the brain had some decisions to make, and quickly. Your brain is constantly receiving information from your eyes, ears, by touch and from within the body. And based on those inputs it helps you navigate the world. It also learns as you experience more things. Someone smiling, good. Someone frowning bad. Fire is bad, it burns. Water is nice, except when it is frozen. So when the Kiwi stepped on the nail the brain wouldn't have received damage messaging from the foot but the eyes would be showing that there is a bloody big nail sticking out of the shoe. To the embarrassment of this man his brain's calculations in this case were wrong. It assumed there was tissue damage associated with the nail but there wasn't. Ok great, so a Kiwi steps on a nail and his brain freaks out, what has that got to do with Panadeine and Nurofen Plus? In the anglosphere world we have seen high rates of abuse and addiction over the last 30 years. What was initially thought of as the one great cure all for pain has now been recognised as somewhat problematic. Opioid medications are amazing painkillers. They stop the information from the body making it to the brain. And so for acute injuries, for people with terminal illnesses or other severe pain coniditions they can be great. But for back pain and neck pain and arm pain, for musculoskeletal injuries opioids aren't great. So when I do my back what am I supposed to do then? If you hurt something and the pain doesn't go away after a few days you should go and see your osteopaths or physiotherapist or GP. The diagnosis is really important as the path you take from there can differ dependent on the structure affected. As a general rule most injuries will benefit from an osteopathic session, once you are feeling better then movement and exercise are the keys. What do you mean by movement? Movement that doesn't hurt is what you want. At the Neighbourhood Clinic we have exercise physiology classes and our practitioners are some of the best in Melbourne. But if you like dancing go and do a dance class, if you like football go and have a kick if you like stretching in your living room then do that. Hopefully that helps to explain the link between Kiwis, Pain and Today's Ban on Opioids.

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