Darts win after sciatica surgery

League darts player David Cheal, 54, was particularly delighted to be a winner at a Darts Tournament in Paris in June, following spinal surgery less than six months earlier. The IT specialist from Barry had suffered with back problems for 10 years and the sciatica in his leg got much worse about two years before his microscopic surgery. He is now pain free and can enjoy both being active and being able to sleep.

Patient Mr Cheal describes his symptoms and treatment, “Standing still for more than a couple of minutes kicked the sciatica off in my left leg, tightening all my muscles and causing numbness in my leg. I would also have 10 numb toes. I would be in a lot of pain for the rest of the day with sitting down providing the only relief. Boiling a kettle, waiting for the iron to heat up, chalking a game of darts or throwing darts all left me in a lot of pain. Walking slowly also kicked off the sciatica.

Thankfully I have corporate health insurance, so I was referred to consultant spinal neurosurgeon Mr Iqroop Chopra at the South Wales Spinal Centre. At both Nuffield Health Cardiff Bay and Hensol Hospitals, I had consultations, X-rays, MRIs, nerve blocking injections and physio, with an excellent experience at both hospitals – clean, friendly and most hospitable!

After my Laminectomy and Discectomy in mid December 2017, I came out of hospital two days later. My back was very painful to touch for about 10 days. Six weeks later, I was back at work, with my mobility improving from mid January.”

Delighted David adds, “Mr Chopra and every member of staff that I met at the Nuffield Health hospitals were very good to me. My consultant is a very friendly, kind and knowledgeable man who did his upmost to keep me informed from my very first visit to my post op appointment in early January 2018. I would thoroughly recommend this procedure. I returned to darts in late February and was thrilled with the win just three months later!”

Neurosurgeon Mr Chopra advises, “Over the years, Mr Cheal’s pain was managed with physiotherapy and pain killers. In the last few months before he saw me, the pain started to radiate down his legs. This started to affect his walking, sleeping and other daily activities. Like a lot of spinal conditions, these leg symptoms with no weakness can often be managed with non-operative treatment like injections.

The success rate of such non-surgical intervention is high and helps avoid spinal operations. However where leg pain symptoms are resistant to such treatment or there is recurrence of symptoms, minimally invasive surgical treatment offers good results. In Mr Cheal’s case, microscopic decompression of the nerve helped his quick recovery.

Early identification of the change in symptoms from mechanical back pain to radiating leg pain is vital, also where this change occurs in neck and arm pain, and needs to be acted upon to avoid loss of leg function.”