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Rapid assessment, diagnosis, and treatment for neck and back pain

Neurosurgery typically focuses on issues and conditions related to the central nervous system (which links your brain, spine, and nerves) and the spine itself. When something goes wrong, either through injury or due to a developing condition, you can end up in significant pain.

Typical symptoms that may need investigating include:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Sciatica
  • Arm pain
  • Weakness
  • Sensory loss

These can indicate a number of conditions that may require the attention of a neurosurgeon, such as:

  • Slipped disc
  • Spinal trauma
  • Brain or spinal tumour
  • Nerve compression

You may have been referred by your GP or physiotherapist, requiring further diagnostics. Sometimes you may have a cross referral from consultants in one of our other specialties, such as hip and shoulder surgeons, rheumatologists, and neurologists. We also have an increasing number of self-referrals, enabling you to see a specialist in the first instance.

At The Ridgeway Hospital, our neurosurgeons are available for consultations without delay, providing you with an accurate diagnosis and a personalised treatment plan at your earliest convenience. With such specialist care offered by our highly experienced teams, it’s no wonder we see patients from Swindon, Marlborough, Devizes, Cirencester and even further afield.

Treatment for these conditions and symptoms are often conservative at first, and you may not need surgery at all. Spinal surgery tends to be high risk and is therefore a last resort if other methods have not been successful in managing your symptoms. This can be very reassuring to patients, as the majority don’t want surgery if they can avoid it.

Non-surgical treatment options are varied, beginning with pain optimisation and focused physiotherapy (offered on-site by our dedicated physiotherapy team). Alternative therapies can also be useful, such as osteopathy, acupuncture, and hydrotherapy. At The Ridgeway Hospital, we have our own resident chiropractor, who can offer appointments rapidly to get your sessions underway promptly.

Conditions such as a slipped disc may get better on their own with pain management and enough recovery time. Spinal injections may be considered for both diagnostic reasons (helping to highlight the source of your pain) and to help reduce inflammation and pain. These can be performed with image guidance for added accuracy, in an aseptic environment in our state-of-the-art operating theatres. Performed as a day case so you can go home on the same day, these carry low risks and can be very effective in managing your pain and other symptoms.

If these injections have only provided short term relief, further action may be required, and surgery is likely your best option. Surgical procedures will vary depending on your specific condition, including:

  • Discectomy (removing damaged discs from your spinal column)
  • Craniotomy (removing part of the skull to access the brain, i.e. for tumour or blood clot removal)
  • Lumbar decompression (to treat compressed nerves in your spine)
  • Spinal fusion (fusing of the spine for stability)
  • Cervical surgery

From diagnosis to treatment and recovery, your care at The Ridgeway Hospital is always consultant-led and consultant delivered. All spine conditions and surgeries can be managed by consultants at The Ridgeway Hospital, with links to local high-dependency units for more complex and specialised surgeries.

When you come in for an initial consultation at The Ridgeway Hospital, your consultant will ask for a detailed medical history, giving you a platform to talk about any symptoms you have been experiencing. They will likely want to know:

  • What are your symptoms?
  • How long have you been experiencing them?
  • Are you in pain? Can you describe the pain – is it constant or intermittent?
  • Have you tried any other treatments previously?
  • Are you currently taking any medication?

This will often be followed by a neurological examination, assessing your motor responses and reflexes.

Diagnostic imaging is then used to find out what’s going on and what’s causing your pain. These can be performed on-site in our Imaging department, and can be booked in quickly, even on the same day, depending on availability. Some patients may arrive with scans already taken care of; in which case your consultant can discuss any findings with you.

Once results are back from these scans, a follow-up consultation will allow your consultant to talk about what your scans show, taking you through the images and explaining what they mean. Patients often find this very reassuring, as it allows you to gain a full understanding of your condition.

Following discussion on these findings, the next step is to focus on management. Your consultant will discuss all available options with you, both surgical and non-surgical, explaining the risks and benefits of each. As the patient, it is always your choice how you would like to proceed, and your consultant will give you all you need to know in order to make an informed decision.

If considering surgery, your consultant will conduct a pre-operative assessment on your risk factors, which can help flag up whether or not you require a high-dependency unit for your recovery following surgery.

Choosing to have your Neurosurgery at The Ridgeway Hospital comes with a host of benefits, such as:

  • Assessments ASAP – Certain spinal and nervous system conditions are best diagnosed at the earliest possible stage. If you’ve been experiencing any of the associated symptoms, our neurosurgeons can see you for an assessment without delay, getting you an accurate diagnosis rapidly (with state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment) and the necessary treatment before your symptoms progress any further.
  • Patient Satisfaction – 96.4% of patients in 2020 said they would happily recommend The Ridgeway Hospital to friends and family in an independent report, and we’re confident that you’ll agree. 96.3% also said that the quality of care here at The Ridgeway Hospital was either ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’. We aim to make your stay with us as comfortable as possible, and these results highlight our continued efforts to ensure this is achieved.
  • Personalised Care – We believe in a bespoke approach to treatment, tailoring each experience to our patients’ needs and providing the very best care for your specific condition. This is regularly reviewed, ensuring you get the necessary treatment at every stage of your patient journey.
  • Depth of Experience – Neurosurgery is a very specialised field, requiring rigorous training. Our neurosurgeons have a high volume of day-to-day work at The Ridgeway Hospital, with a wealth of experience in complicated procedures, meaning you can have the utmost confidence in your surgeon’s abilities.
  • A Multidisciplinary Approach – Our teams at The Ridgeway Hospital work in tandem with each other to provide you with the best possible care from start to finish. Working closely with colleagues in Orthopaedics and Neurology, alongside specialist chiropractors, radiographers, anaesthetists, and nurses, your consultants have access to a wide network for complex issues, ensuring you have expert support every step of the way during your treatment.
  • Convenient Appointments – With appointments available at dedicated clinics throughout the week, you are sure to find an appointment slot that suits your needs and availability.

If symptoms of back and neck pain have been concerning you, why not book a consultation with one of our neurosurgeons today? Our consultants can outline all treatment options for you promptly, arranging any necessary diagnostic scans, treatment and surgery if required.

For peace of mind and expert care, book an appointment online now.

Specialists offering Neurosurgery

Mr Robin Bhatia

Consultant Spinal Neurosurgeon

MA (Oxon), MBBS, PhD, FRCS (SN)

The Ridgeway Hospital

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