How Can We Help
At The Spine Team we look after patients with a range of conditions most of which relate to the Musculo-Skeletal System and the most common is Back Pain; these problems are currently the cause of more lost days from work than any other illness (ONS 2014).
Back Pain and Neck Pain are the most common musculo-skeletal complaints
131 million days were lost to sickness in the workforce in 2013 (ONS February 2014) at an estimated cost of £29 billion (PwC July 2013) of which 31 million days were due to Back and Neck Pain at a cost of nearly £7 billion. All of this resulting in 4.6 million GP appointments and accordingly a lot of pain and suffering.
Acute Back Pain
Acute Back Pain, including Acute Neck Pain, is pain of recent onset, it usually comes of over a short period of time and is worse on particular movements or positions giving sharp pain. Excluding cases of severe trauma most Acute Back problems are not due to serious illness. If you know what you have done and within three days you are getting better then there may be no need for advice. However if the problem has come on for no good reason or it is not improving at three days it is worth getting an opinion, if you can get an appointment with your GP and early access to a muscle-skeletal practitioner then that is good. if not we are happy to help.
Our Acute Back Pain Service
Offers a very short lead time to consultation, screening for non-mechanical (serious illness) symptoms or signs and for signs of likely failure to respond to treatment in the short term, leading to early advice and treatment.
Treatment is aimed at improving the function of the affected area and helping the recovery of the whole body around it, manipulation is indicated for most mechanical pain to take away the muscular tension or spasm that sets up around the joint that has been irritated. However most patients leave The Spine Team with more than treatment as there are usually other factors to address to optimise recovery.
Chronic Back Pain
Chronic Back Pain, including Chronic Neck Pain, is pain of onset from weeks to years earlier. It can be recurrent, constant or varying but never fully free. It may be worse on particular movements or positions and nags away becoming quite distracting. Most Chronic Back problems are not due to serious illness but there are some symptoms and signs which indicate investigation is worthwhile. Even if you know why you have a problem you already know that it is not getting better on its own and it is worth getting an opinion. You have probably already seen your GP and either you are waiting for an appointment for care or you have tried and it has not worked, in either case we are happy to help.
Our Chronic Back Pain Service
Some Chronic Back Pain is simply Acute Back Pain that has failed to recover because it is routinely aggravated by your normal life. So either we need to identify the ‘problem’ in your life and remove it, or we need to identify the ‘weakness’ in you and make it ‘stronger’.
Unfortunately patterns of pain that are constant or consistently recur are learnt by the body and indeed the body can become sensitised so that it over-responds to loads leading to an increased pain response, this is called a Chronic Pain Syndrome and is a significant problem in Chronic Back Pain.
Our approach to Chronic Back Pain firstly considers the history of the problem and other medical conditions to rule out ‘Red Flags’, signs of serious illness, for which investigation may be indicated. We look at you to see whether something ‘internal’, that is particular about you, prevents you from recovering. We then look at your life and see when the problem is better or worse to help us understand if there are patterns to help explain what ‘external’ factors you cannot tolerate. Both internal and external factors can lead to a constantly recurring pattern of pain which if addressed would allow the problem to resolve.
Treatment is still aimed at improving the function of the affected area and helping the recovery of the whole body around it, manipulation is indicated for most mechanical pain to take away the muscular tension or spasm that sets up around the joint that has been irritated. However most patients with Chronic Back Pain leave The Spine Team with a much better understanding of their problem and what they need to do to help. That may be better management of external factors or changing the way they do things to help an internal factor, this could be done in a number of ways, for example, with counselling or exercises.
This group may then need to consider maintenance of their improvement by regular exercise and maintenance treatment but this is quite individual. We assess each person and consider whether their life has a gradually detrimental effect on them and need a regular maintenance or whether they should just wait until they need more care and call us.
Our Bio-mechanics Service
For both sports injury and persistent or recurrent posture or limb pain. Biomechanics is understanding how forces are transmitted through the body. There are two main principles, firstly forces should go through joints optimally in the neutral position (posture when standing still), secondly that the structure is stable under force in a range of motion (when being active).
Injury occurs when one of these parameters is undermined or exceeded either gradually on repetition or on a single event. Understanding how the problem has occurred is vital. If it was traumatic, as in a sports injury, we can understand it simply from an examination by finding out how the area is affected. However for a gradually developing problem we would need to understand how you transmit forces through your body on every day actions, this would include posture, gait, movement and activity analysis.
Once again helping the patient understand the problem is essential, to improve a fault with the way you stand, walk or run means making changes. Treatment using manipulation or sports therapy can be effective on its own but in most cases informed rehabilitative exercises are what the patient needs.
Headaches and Dizziness
Can be due to various problems some of which may be due to the neck or the inner ear. We will be able to screen for those patients we may be able to help and those who need to consult their GP.