Spinecare UK, a brand new concept in the care of patients with spinal problems, has been formed to offer a comprehensive range of treatments across the whole spectrum of spine diseases and conditions from acute back pain, through prolapsed (”slipped”) disc to more serious problems of severe chronic back pain.
The main stay of the treatment of most back and neck pain are painkillers, appropriate advice and physical therapy. This may take the form of heat, different forms of electrical treatment, deep massage, mobilisations, manipulations and traction. The majority of back and neck problems can be resolved with this type of treatment without the need for injections or operations.
Epidural injections, which many people know are used in childbirth, can be used to deliver local anaesthetic and a small dose of steroid into the region of origin of a painful sciatica and is successful in relieving persistent sciatic pain in most appropriate cases.
Other injections such as facet joint injections and trigger point injections can be used, particularly in intractable problems in the back.
Root block injections are also used to try to identify particular discs and nerve roots which are under irritation or pressure.
All these procedures are carried out either by Spinal Surgeons or Pain Specialist Anaesthetists with much experience treating these conditions.
The commonest condition requiring surgery is a slipped or prolapsed lumbar intervertebral disc which presses on one of the spinal nerves causing severe pain into the leg. A microdiscectomy, which is keyhole surgery is designed to remove the prolapse and allow the nerve to recover. It is possible to do this type of surgery as a day case but most patients require one or two nights in hospital.
If the spine is so unstable that simply removing the pressure on the nerves is not sufficient then a fusion is carried out, usually with screws and rods at the back, sometimes with space r s between the vertebral bodies, either put in at the back or front. These are complex operations only used when all other treatments are inappropriate or have failed. A successful fusion can allow the patient to lead a completely normal life, young people even getting back to highly competitive and physical sporting activities.
Decompression for Spinal Stenosis
This is an increasingly common condition affecting normally older patients. It is caused by increased tightness around the spinal canal which places pressure on the spinal nerve. This causes difficulty walking and leg pain. Surgery is designed to relieve this pain by taking pressure off the spinal nerve.