Spinal problems leading to back pain are many and varied.

The majority of the patients that I see in Guildford have conditions that are causing them pain and concern.

In most instances the underlying cause is benign and indeed is often self limiting, that is to say, symptoms will settle in time without the need for a great deal of treatment.

I probably discuss surgery with only 10% of my patients. In most instances such treatment is not necessary or sensible.

Very rarely, a patient presenting to my clinic with severe back pain will have a serious underlying cause such as an undiagnosed cancer or an infection in the spine.

On the whole, the problems that I see relate to wear of the lower part of the back, the lumbar spine.

Similar problems can arise in the neck or cervical spine.

As we age, there are inevitably changes in the anatomy of the spine.

The image below shows how once fleshy discs, the soft parts between the bones, become narrow and sometimes bulge.

These changes can be associated with back pain and often very severe leg pain or sciatica. 

The initial treatment of nearly all back pain and sciatica is with so called conservative treatments, that is, anything that helps, excluding surgery.

Often manipulative therapy, which may include, Physiotherapy, Osteopathy or Chiropractic treatment, will be tried for a number of weeks.

Other forms of pain management including analgesia and sometimes steroid injections, can be useful.

When all else has failed and if I have identified a problem that may be treated surgically, we will have a discussion about the risks and benefits of spinal surgery.

The most common problems that I treat surgically are;