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Spinal surgery

Orthopaedic spinal services at The Priory Hospital

Back pain is one of the main reasons people miss work or stop doing the leisure activities they enjoy.  Around 80% of us will experience two to three hours of continuous back or leg pain at some point in our lives. In many cases the pain resolves by itself in a short period of time.

However if you’re suffering from chronic pain and it isn’t getting better – or you’ve been diagnosed with a spinal condition and want a second opinion there’s no need to suffer in silence. 

Book an appointment with a leading back pain consultant at The Priory Hospital

Misdiagnosis or non-diagnosis of back pain can cause prolonged and unnecessary suffering. However the wait for specialist evaluation and treatment is often lengthy.

By booking an appointment at The Priory Hospital you can be seen by a specialist spinal consultant in a matter of days rather than weeks or even months. Then you can start your treatment right away – whether this be a course of physiotherapy or something more interventional.

The causes of chronic back pain vary but quite often stem from degenerative disc disease due to osteoarthritis or from an injury.

Degenerative disc disease is an unwanted aspect of ageing.  The protective discs that sit between the vertebrae in the spine can start to wear down and shrink. This causes the bones in the spine to rub against one another leading to back pain and stiffness. Sufferers can also experience weakness in the legs.

Discs can also get torn and ruptured, due to a sports injury, or because of an occupational hazard when turning, twisting, or lifting items. A herniated disc (sometimes referred to as a slipped disc) occurs when part of the disc’s central nucleus pushes out through a tear. When it comes into contact with a nerve this can lead to pain or weakness in an arm or leg.

These are some of the most common conditions we see at The Priory Hospital, Birmingham:

Sciatica: This refers to irritation of the nerve that runs from the pelvis to the feet. People with sciatica can experience sharp, burning or stabbing pain in the lower back, a pain that can radiate down either one or both legs. A tingling sensation, weakness or numbness can also occur in the legs. Causes are arthritis, injuries, and herniated discs.

Spinal stenosis: This form of nerve root compression is caused when the spinal canal reduces in size so the spinal nerve can no longer function properly. The narrow spinal canal affects the nerves and symptoms can include having a numb, cramp-like pain. It often presents in older patients due to degeneration.

Spondylolisthesis: A condition that can cause back pain and stiffness as well as reduced flexibility and fatigue. It occurs when one spinal vertebra slips forwards relative to the one below – and this is again, often as a result of disc degeneration.

Treatment for back problems can include medication, physiotherapy, and injections. In severe cases surgery is a last resort. In many cases, in fact, problems get better by themselves, or respond well to physiotherapy or injection or laser therapy.

When you first meet with your specialist spinal consultant, they will want to understand your ‘story’ or patient journey before they decide how they can help you. You will be asked about the type of pain you’re experiencing, its duration, and the frequency of your symptoms as well as how the pain is affecting your sleep or mobility.

In some cases your first consultation can take place via telephone so that you consultant can get an initial understanding of your symptoms. But this would have to be followed by a face-to-face meeting before any form of treatment is agreed upon.

Given their extensive experience in treating back problems, your consultant will usually be able to quickly get an early idea of what’s wrong and they will refer you for any necessary diagnostic tests. These could include an MRI scan (which uses radio waves to create 3D images) or an X-ray.

All necessary tests will be carried out in The Priory Hospital's state of the art imaging suite – after which you’ll return for your second appointment with your consultant. They will go through the results of the scan with you in detail then discuss your treatment options. While your consultant will give you their expert recommendations - what happens at all stages of your treatment will be a joint decision-making process.

Treatment for a back condition could involve a series of Injections over a number of months, a course of physiotherapy, or laser therapy.  Laser therapy is an entirely day case procedure to relieve pain and inflammation that’s non-invasive and results in no tissue damage. The risk of infection is virtually non-existent, and it’s an extremely effective way to treat certain spinal conditions.

If any form of medical intervention is required, you’ll be given all the details of what will happen pre, post and during procedures, as well as advice on what to expect in terms of recovery times. 

At The Priory Hospital our leading spinal consultants see and treat a wide variety of back problems. They have expertise in the latest and most effective treatments and act as a first point of contact for the diagnosis of back conditions as well as offering a faster route to specialist treatment. There are many clear benefits to opting for treatment at The Priory Hospital:

  • The availability for a specialist spinal consultation exceeds that of many other clinics. It’s usually possible to get an appointment with a consultant within a week or even earlier, sometimes even the same day.
  • All treatment is consultant-led. At The Priory Hospital you will always see the same consultant throughout the course of your treatment, never a junior doctor or trainee.
  • The Priory Hospital has a highly advanced imaging suite, so patients get a fast accurate diagnosis of their condition. Treatment involving minimally invasive options e.g. spinal injections are carried out here.
  • Our consultants work in close collaboration with expert radiographers, physiotherapists, radiologists, and nurses as part of a multidisciplinary team. Our physiotherapists are sometimes invited to sit in on patient clinics, so they gain a full understanding of the therapy that will be required to get the best outcomes.
  • All physical rehabilitation takes place in our state-of the art physiotherapy unit and gymnasium which is situated right across from The Priory Hospital. Certain equipment has been designed specifically for spinal patients, by one of our own consultants.
  • The Priory Hospital keeps full electronic medical records that are accessible to patients. Patients can log in to their accounts to see all their medical information in one place.
  • All consultations, diagnostics and rehabilitation takes place in one location at The Priory Hospital which has excellent transport links and free patient parking.
  • Patients do not need to have private medical insurance to access the expertise of The Priory Hospital’s consultants. We offer a variety of flexible payment options.

Specialists offering Spinal surgery

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Mr George McKay

Consultant Spinal Surgeon


The Priory Hospital

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Professor Mushtaque Ahmad Ishaque

Consultant Spinal Surgeon

BSc(Hons) BChir(Cantab) DM FRCS FRCS(Ed) FRCS(Orth)

The Priory Hospital

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Mr Alistair John Stirling

Consultant Spinal Surgeon

MBChB, FRCSEd, FRCS, FBOA (Honorary)

The Priory Hospital

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Mr Ian Pitman

Consultant Orthopaedic & Spinal Surgeon

MB BCh, MRCS, MSc(Orth Eng), FRCS (T&O)

The Priory Hospital

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Mr Matthew Newton Ede

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

MB ChB MRCS(Eng) FRCS(Tr&Orth)

The Priory Hospital

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Mr Jwalant Mehta

Consultant Spinal Surgeon

MBBS, MS(Orth), D Orth, MCh Orth, FRCS Tr & Orth

The Priory Hospital

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