Back pain or nerve pain affecting the arms or legs can affect anyone at any time of life. It could be the result of a slipped disc, arthritis of the spinal joints, repeated minor stresses, bone deterioration, or an injury. Whatever the reason, it can bring pain and misery to sufferers, seriously affecting their quality of life and work.
Back pain will affect over 80 percent of us at some stage in our lives, and is the most common cause of absence from work in the UK. However, by reducing the stresses and strains on the spine during daily activities, the risk of developing back pain or limb pain from spinal nerve compression can be lessened. It is important to be constantly aware of maintaining a good posture, both at home and at work.
Daily spinal health checklist:
- Be aware of your posture and ensure your spine is straight and well-balanced.
- Take time to improve core muscle tone, and set aside a few minutes each day for tensing exercises of your stomach, pelvic and back muscles.
- Good exercises for back muscles include swimming, walking, cycling and gentle keep-fit.
- Maintain a good body weight to avoid unnecessary strain on your spinal joints.
- Remember to use correct lifting techniques and distribute the weight evenly while carrying.
- Don’t bend when you could kneel or squat, and never stoop or bend over for prolonged periods, especially for lifting.
- If bending over or sitting for a long time, gently stretch backwards when standing up.
- Avoid sit ups, double leg lifts, and touching toes.
- Always warm up and stretch before sport, and cool down and stretch afterwards.
Many spinal problems can be prevented and some can be self-treated. However, when the symptoms do not settle, or worsen, then professional help and advice may be needed. Patients with persistent or progressive symptoms can benefit from a specialist assessment and diagnostic spinal MRI scanning with a view to offering physiotherapy, injection therapy, and pain management.
The spinal team based at Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital in Clifton provides comprehensive assessment and treatment for a range of spinal conditions affecting the neck and back. The spinal multidisciplinary team includes Consultant Spinal Neurosurgeon Mr Nitin Patel, Consultant Orthopaedic Spinal Surgeon Mr Stephen Morris, Consultant in Pain Medicine Dr Gareth Greenslade, and Clinical Psychologist specialising in pain Dr Angela Caney, as well as radiologists, physiotherapists and specialist nurses.
Mr Patel explains, “The majority of patients with spinal conditions improve with non-surgical treatment through specialist physiotherapy, pain management or steroid injection treatment, combined with patient education about exercise and injury prevention. Patients who fail to improve with non-surgical treatment, and are suffering with symptoms that interfere with their work and leisure activities, may have a condition that is treatable with surgery. Wherever possible, less invasive microsurgical techniques are selected to improve the symptoms and aid postoperative recovery. Surgery may involve micro-surgical nerve decompression for arm or leg pain. In general, these procedures have a greater than 80% success rate of relieving symptoms, allowing patients to return to work and leisure activities.”
Dr Gareth Greenslade, Consultant in Pain Medicine, treats problems ranging from simple back pain to the aftermath of major trauma and pain which may persist after surgery. Dr Greenslade comments, “After assessment, the patient may have image guided injections, medication, acupuncture or TENS, specialised physiotherapy and clinical psychology. I am fortunate to be working with a group of expert surgeons who avoid surgery whenever they can. Their approach is up-to-date and based on the best evidence.”
In addition to Mr Patel, Mr Morris and Dr Greenslade, also available for consultation at Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital are Consultant Neurosurgeon Mr Nik Patel, and Consultant Orthopaedic Spinal Surgeons Mr Ian Harding, Mr Priyan Landham and Mr Michael Katsimihas. Private patients treated at Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital also have the option to benefit from their unique Recovery Plus programme, providing extended post-operative physiotherapy support. Provided at the two Bristol Nuffield Health Fitness & Wellbeing Centres in Clifton and Stoke Gifford, Recovery Plus ensures a smooth recovery and promotes long-term health.
If you have been suffering from back pain and would like to book an appointment with one of our specialist Spinal Consultant Surgeons at Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital, call 0117 911 6062, or visit our website: www.nuffieldhealth.com/hospitals/bristol