Daily News Roundup

June 11, 2018

Image: ABC

Treating lower back aches without drugs and surgery by ‘rethinking pain’

You’re worn down by intermittent back pain. It’s an unpredictable beast. It can come on so strongly you cannot walk, or sit.

At least you think you can’t (but read on).

In desperation, you consider surgery — but this is not always a good move.

The evidence of benefit from surgery is weak at best, as a recent Lancet series on lower back pain found.

Despite this, plenty of people are still going under the knife. Lumbar spine surgery rates are doubling roughly every 10 years, according to University of NSW professor of orthopaedic surgery Ian Harris.

And, he said, the operations are getting more complex, and therefore more risky.

“What we are seeing is an increase in complex surgery over simple surgery, in particular fusions, in particular multilevel fusions.”

There are however, cheaper, more effective ways to deal with back pain. We asked the experts what works — and what doesn’t.

Get moving?

Yes, even if it hurts. Once you have the all clear from a doctor or physiotherapist, you are safe to move.

Developments in neuroscience indicate that the brain creates pain as a mechanism to protect us.

In the case of chronic pain, the pain system gets more sensitive. Our body learns pain — and so we feel it more acutely.

When it comes to chronic pain, the brain is being overly cautious. Pain is increased by fear of re-injury and a whole host of other factors. And so, over time, our body creates a bigger than necessary pain buffer zone.

Donald Trump adviser says ‘special place in hell’ for Justin Trudeau as White House steps up G7 row

The United States and Canada have swung sharply towards a diplomatic and trade crisis as top White House advisers lashed out at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a day after US President Donald Trump called him “very dishonest and weak”.

The spat drew in Germany and France, who sharply criticised Mr Trump’s decision to abruptly withdraw his support for a Group of Seven communique hammered out at a Canadian summit on Saturday (local time), accusing him of destroying trust and acting inconsistently.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland responded to the White House assault by saying ad hominem attacks were not helpful, that Canada would retaliate to US tariffs in a measured and reciprocal way and that Canada would always be willing to talk.

“Canada does not conduct its diplomacy through ad hominem attacks … and we refrain particularly from ad hominem attacks when it comes from a close ally,” Ms Freeland told reporters in Quebec City.

Mr Trump’s looming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un heightened tension, and White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow accused Mr Trudeau of betraying Mr Trump with “polarising” statements on trade policy that risked making the US leader look weak on the eve of the historic North Korea summit.

Hours after Mr Trump withdrew his support for the joint statement and attacked Mr Trudeau, Mr Kudlow and trade adviser Peter Navarro drove the message home on Sunday morning news shows in an extraordinary assault on a close US ally and neighbour.

“[Mr Trudeau] really kind of stabbed us in the back,” Mr Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council who had accompanied Mr Trump to the summit of wealthy nations on Saturday, said on CNN’s State of the Union.

Mr Navarro told Fox News: “There is a special place in hell for any leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door and that’s what bad-faith Justin Trudeau did with that stunt press conference, that’s what weak, dishonest Justin Trudeau did.”

Prince Harry and wife Meghan confirm visit to Australia, New Zealand, Tonga and Fiji

Kensington Palace says Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will be touring Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand this spring.

The Royal couple, now known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will be making the tour around the time of the Invictus Games in Sydney, which is set for October 20 to 27.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he welcomed this morning’s announcement.

“As the founder of the Invictus Games, the Duke of Sussex has become a champion for war veterans around the world, including in Australia.

“His attendance, alongside the Duchess of Sussex, will be a wonderful highlight for the more than 500 competitors and thousands of spectators,” Mr Turnbull said.

“Lucy and I look forward to hosting their visit and watching the remarkable feats of Invictus athletes from around the world.”

Prince Harry spent time serving with the British military in Afghanistan and was the first British Royal to be sent into combat in more than a quarter of a century.

He created the Paralympic-style games as a way to inspire wounded soldiers toward recovery.

About 550 competitors from 17 countries competed in 12 sports during the event in Canada last year.

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