Mohamed Ahmed, Consultant Orthopaedic Spinal Surgeon, is a strong advocate for lifestyle changes and physical therapy to recover from back pain. Where surgery is recommended, he specialises in the use of the latest advanced minimally invasive techniques to help his patients recover quickly and with a good outcome.
In this recent article, featured in the Life magazine series across Hertfordshire and North London, Mr Ahmed provides a quick insight into the best steps for a good recovery from back pain.
Back pain has always been a common problem and will affect most of us at some point in our lives, but it has been particularly prevalent in the last year. Working at makeshift desks at home for a far longer period of time than any of us expected, and lockdown enforced changes to our activity levels and fitness regimes, certainly hasn’t helped.
Back pain most commonly affects the lower back although it can be felt anywhere along the spine. Because of this complex structure it is often difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the pain. In most cases rather than an acute stabbing pain, it is a dull stiffness or tension in the back. The pain can be triggered by an awkward posture, bending or sitting awkwardly, or lifting incorrectly.
Usually back pain is not a serious disease and will get better within a few months. In many cases advice, activity modification, simple pain killers and physical therapy can keep symptoms under control. Steroid injections (also known as cortisone or hydrocortisone injections) can reduce inflammation and be helpful to rapidly improve pain in the short term, to enable greater movement for exercise and physical therapy to strengthen the core muscles for a better recovery in the long term.
The key to getting the right treatment is getting the right diagnosis, which is possible with a combination of a thorough clinical assessment and appropriate investigations, which may include imaging such as X-ray, CT scan or an MRI scan.
If surgery is necessary many interventions can be performed with keyhole surgery, using the most advanced minimally invasive techniques. You can read more about minimally invasive spinal surgery here.