Back, Buttocks & Spine

Back

The back is an immensely intricate piece of natural engineering that connects and holds the whole body together. Wrapped in masses of muscles, tendons and tissue; the spine runs from the skull down to the coccyx consisting of 33 bones when born! These bones are called the vertebrae and are divided into five subsections, from top to bottom, the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral and coccyx. Cartilage discs live in between each of the vertebrae and act as natural shock absorbers for the spine and allow the bones to glide seamlessly when moving.

Fracture

A spinal fracture is a serious condition that needs immediate attention. A fracture can occur anywhere along the spine including the neck, but the majority occur in the lower back. There are numerous different types of break that depend on how the injury was sustained such as a car crash, sports injury, fall or even gunshot. Symptoms include back pain, neck pain, numbness, lack of movement and in extreme cases, paralysis.

How is it treated?

Treatments tend to include a brace or orthotic to get the spine stationary and aligned to heal correctly, but sometimes further action is required. Surgery depends on each case, with severe breaks being treated with fusion surgery that merges multiple vertebrae.

Sciatica

The Sciatic nerve is the longest in the body, it runs from the base of the spine, down the thighs and into the legs and feet. It is often caused when the nerve is trapped, caused frequently by a slipped or a herniated disc that is putting pressure on the nerve and squeezing it. This causes sharp pain, normally down one singular leg and foot, but varies depending on where the nerve is pinched.

How is it treated?

Movement and particular exercises are recommended, as well as physiotherapy which can help reduce sciatica over a period of time. Prolonged cases can be treated with steroid injections that medicate the pain as well as surgery to relieve pressure on the nerve. A non-invasive alternative is regenerative medicine which can treat and solve the root of the problem by repairing the damage at a cellular level by injecting plasma-rich proteins into the damaged tissue, restoring and rejuvenating them.

Slipped Disc

A slipped disc can occur anywhere in the spine, but they frequently happen in the lower section called the lumbar curve. A ‘disc’ consists of two parts, the delicate ‘squishy’ inner section and the tougher rubbery outer layer. If the outer layer of a disc is damaged, it allows the inner layer to push through, protruding upon and irritating the delicate nerves of the lower spine. This can cause pain in the arms or legs (depending on where the slipped disc is on the spine), as well as weakness, numbness and tingling.

How is it treated?

Many treatments for a slipped disc medicate the pain, rather than treat the problem. Over the counter painkillers such as anti-inflammatories can help ease milder cases, as well as physiotherapy and even cortisone injections. More severe cases may be offered surgery, but this is rare! It involves the removal of the protruding section of the disc and resealing it using a bone graft which can take months to heal. Regenerative medicine offers an alternative that uses plasma-rich platelets to repair the damaged disc using cutting edge imaging technology, repairing the damage at the root, rather than medicating the symptoms.

Osteoarthritis of the spine is the leading cause of back pain in those over the age of 50. Each of the vertebrae is lined with spongy cartilage that protects the bone and allows for the joints to move freely and rub together. Osteoarthritis occurs when this cartilage erodes away, normally due to the natural wear and tear of life, causing the bones to rub against one another, inflicting friction and pain. It can also be caused by a genetic propensity or physical trauma and injury.

Treatments for osteoarthritis vary, strengthening exercises that aim to increase support from the muscles that surround the spine and over the counter, anti-inflammatory medicines can help ease and medicate milder cases. Steroid injections are also available but pain can reoccur. Another option is regenerative medicine which injects natural plasma-rich platelets directly into the source of the problem, regenerating the damaged cartilage in a non-invasive procedure.

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