Latest News

Get back to.. Ross serves it up again

Musculoskeletal disorders are the biggest cause of disability. Despite the billions spent, the problem is just getting worse. Latest medical guidelines strongly recommend exercise therapy as the first-line-treatment for musculoskeletal disorders instead of much more expensive surgeries.

Ross Thomson’s neck pain took away one of his great pleasures in life. But now he’s back on court after finding the right treatment to manage his spondylosis.

Several years ago after a CT scan, a doctor delivered what Ross Thomson describes as ‘sobering news’. He had severe deterioration (spondylosis) of the neck and back. 

The pain from the condition was so debilitating that he’d given up one of his greatest pleasures, playing tennis at his local club in Singleton.

‘I’ve always enjoyed playing tennis and I found that serving in particular when my neck was very sore was difficult,’ Ross says. 

‘I virtually gave tennis up.’

Ross modestly describes himself as a ‘reasonable tennis player’, taking part in local competitions at the club. But the health benefits and social connections linked to his favourite activity were more important than winning competitions.

‘If you’ve been told by your doctor you have problems with your back and neck, it can become a downward spiral,’ Ross says.

‘Mentally you think “I’d better not do anything, because I don’t want to hurt myself.”’

Then three years ago, Ross had a conversation with Guy Higgins, Principal at Singleton Physiotherapy & Allied Health. The clinic had recently installed getback devices, and Guy encouraged him to try the programme.

‘When I showed Guy the scan, he said, “We see these sort of conditions a lot, but if you put work into it now it will help you get active again.”’

Ross was reassured knowing the getback devices could safely target and strengthen the deep spinal muscles supporting his spine, particularly around his neck.

‘I went through the initial getback programme and then I started doing it myself after I was at a certain level,’ Ross says.

‘That was terrific for rebuilding strength in my back and neck and allowing me to get a bit of confidence back.’

The Cervical Extension / Lateral Flexion Device mobilises the cervical spine, activating extensor and lateral flexor muscles.

Ross says the exercises focused on his troublesome neck were the most rewarding.

‘I enjoy all the exercises in the programme, but because the neck was causing me the most problems, the main neck exercises have been terrific’ he says.

‘It always feels good after the exercise and that is maintained for some time.’

Most importantly, Ross was also able to get back on court and start playing tennis again.

‘I’ve been playing tennis ever since,’ Ross says. ‘It was good to get back into it, because it’s a major part of my life.

‘Although I’ve still got the spondylosis – it’s always going to be there – the getback programme helped me to manage the symptoms and restart activities that I was pulling back on.’

After 30 years in Singleton, Ross and his wife are on the move, relocating to Port Macquarie to be near their son and daughter and grandchildren. 

And as luck would have it, he’ll be able to continue with his getback exercise programme.

‘One of the concerns I had was that I’d be leaving the getback devices, but I see that there’s a getback clinic at Wauchope, right next to Port Macquarie, so that’s handy,’ he says.

‘Knowing that I can keep doing the getback programme at Wauchope is just great.’