Less than 10% of patients seen by our consultants will need surgery.
We tend to treat back surgery as a last resort and would endeavour to try conservative measures first. This will of course depend on your diagnosis following your MRI or CT scan and the opinion of your Consultant.
For the vast majority of patients seeking our help, their symptoms settle within 3 months. To help things settle, Your Consultant may refer you on to the appropriate specialist for one of these treatments.
Nerve Root Injections
The nerve roots transport messages from the Brain and Spinal cord to your legs and they receive messages from the limbs about pain and temperature.
An injection of anti-inflammatory steroid and local anaesthetic around the painful nerve can help treat pain and inflammation caused by compression or irritation of the nerve. This nerve irritation or compression can radiate into the leg(s) and feet.These injections are also used as a Diagnostic tool by the Consultant. For example, if your symptoms are significantly improved then it’s likely that the injected nerve root is the cause of your problems.
Most of the time the procedure is carried out by a Consultant Radiologist under the guidance of a CT scan ensuring greater accuracy and safety.
Facet Joint Injections
Facet joints link together the bones in your back, stabilising your spine and controlling the degree of movement.
An injection of steroid and local anaesthetic can treat the pain and inflammation caused by degeneration (wear & tear) causing lower back, buttock, groin and thigh pain. The injection is carried out under the guidance of a CT scan or X-rays, making the procedure safer and more accurate. The success of this will vary from patient to patient. These are carried out by either Consultant Neurosurgeon, Consultant Radiologists or pain specialists.
Epidurals are used to treat nerve pain which is also called sciatica. This is pain radiating into the leg(s) and feet. It can be associated with numbness and tingling in the distribution of the affected nerve. There are several causes of sciatica but most cause the pain by compressing and irritating the nerve. If there is not so much compression but a lot of inflammation then epidural may be effective particularly in the early stages.
An epidural steroid injection delivers steroids directly into the epidural space in the spine (where the nerves are)to alleviate this. This is carried out by a Consultant Anesthetist who specializes in Pain Management. This is carried out as a day-case in theatre under x-ray guidance.
You would meet up with the Consultant Anesthetist for a Consultation first to discuss the pros and cons of this treatment and then they will then book you in a few days later for the actual procedure.
Physiotherapy uses machines and specific exercises to strengthen core stability, improve flexibility and prevent further spinal deterioration.