Whilst many people suffer with a bad back, many more adults are unaware of the causes, symptoms and effects of back pain. Based at the Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital, The Chesterfield, in Clifton, the Spine Centre Bristol provides comprehensive private assessment and treatment for a range of spinal conditions affecting the neck and back and avoiding surgery wherever possible.
Consultant spinal surgeon and fellowship trained Mr Stephen Morris explains: “Evidence suggests that prevalence and rates of severe and chronic low back pain are increasing, particularly after 40 years of age. The key to keeping your back healthy is about protecting your spine by knowing how to lift correctly, how to sit and stand properly, and doing core-strengthening exercises.
Top tips for a healthy back:
Maintain good posture – avoid slumping in your chair or hunching over a desk or when walking. Make sure your bed has the correct support and comfort for your weight and build
Take a break from sitting – move away from your desk or arm chair every 30 minutes
Exercise your back regularly – walking, swimming and cycling are all good ways to strengthen your back muscles
Always bend at your knees and hips, not your back
Lift heavy objects correctly and carry larger loads in a comfortable rucksack using both shoulder straps to even out the load, avoiding sling bags
Lose excess weight and stop smoking to prevent your discs from degenerating
Use relaxation techniques to combat stress which is a major cause of back pain
Consultant spinal neurosurgeon, Nitin Patel, adds: “Patients with persistent back, neck, arm or leg pain may have an underlying spinal condition. A consultation with a spinal specialist would help determine the need for further tests such as MRI scanning for diagnosis. In most patients with a spinal condition, non-surgical treatment is usually successful. This can include pain management, exercise, steroid injection therapy, specialist physiotherapy and preventative advice. Surgery may be useful for some conditions when patients fail to improve with non-surgical treatment and their symptoms continue to interfere with work and leisure activities. Wherever possible, less invasive surgical procedures using modern microsurgical techniques are used to aid recovery and improve overall results.”