Seven top back care tips from spinal specialist

Whilst many people suffer with a bad back, many more adults are unaware of the causes, symptoms and the effects that back pain can have. Based at Nuffield Health Cardiff and Vale Hospitals, Mr Mike McCarthy is one of four consultant spinal surgeons providing comprehensive private assessment and treatment for a range of spinal conditions affecting the neck and back, avoiding surgery wherever possible. Where appropriate, Nuffield Health offers rapid access to xray guided spinal injections.

Consultant spinal surgeon Mr Mike McCarthy, whose practice includes the management of degenerative spinal conditions such as slipped discs, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis explains, “Evidence suggests that prevalence and rates of severe and chronic low back pain are increasing, particularly after 40 years of age.

The key to keeping your back healthy is about protecting your spine by knowing how to lift correctly, how to sit and stand properly, and doing core-strengthening exercises. Joints are like hinges and their function is to move so it is very important to keep your back mobile and activities such as yoga, pilates, tai chi, aqua aerobics, swimming and cycling can all help.”

Seven Top tips for a Healthy Back:

  1. Maintain good posture – avoid slumping in your chair or hunching over a desk or when walking. Make sure your bed has the correct support and comfort for your weight and build
  2. Take a break from sitting – move away from your desk or arm chair every 30 minutes
  3. Exercise your back regularly – walking, swimming and cycling are all good ways to strengthen your back muscles
  4. Always bend at your knees and hips, not your back
  5. Lift heavy objects correctly and carry larger loads in a comfortable rucksack using both shoulder straps to even out the load, avoiding sling bags
  6. Lose excess weight and stop smoking to prevent your discs from degenerating
  7. Use relaxation techniques to combat stress which is a major cause of back pain

Mr McCarthy adds, “Our patients can be seen quickly for back and leg pain or neck and arm pain, which may all be caused by problems with the spine. After consultation, we offer rapid access to MRI scans and then a discussion of the findings. Treatment for the vast majority is non-surgical and we run a specialist spinal physiotherapy program including pilates.

X-Ray guided injections can be very helpful especially in cases of arm and leg pain. When patients fail to improve with non-surgical treatment and their symptoms are intrusive then spinal surgery can be an option. Wherever possible we select less invasive, microsurgical techniques to aid recovery and improve clinical outcomes.”

Also available for consultation at the Nuffield Health private hospitals in Cardiff Bay and Hensol are consultant orthopaedic spinal surgeons Mr Iqroop Chopra, Mr James Cordell-Smith and Mr Stuart James. In addition to a multi-disciplinary team of consultant musculo-skeletal radiologists, spinal physiotherapists and specialist nurses, the Nuffield Health Recovery Plus programme uniquely provides extended post-operative physiotherapy support. The two local Nuffield Health Fitness & Wellbeing Centres in Bridgend and Cwmbran, ensure a smooth recovery and promote long-term health.

To find out more or to book a consultation please see : www.nuffieldhealth.com/hospitals/cardiff-and-vale or ring 01443 449251