Chronic Spinal Pain
Low back pain is pain, or stiffness in the lower back with or without leg pain (sciatica). Left untreated, this can be debilitating and can have a significant impact on your quality of life, causing frustration and even depression.
When simple treatments fail to relieve your back pain, seeing a pain specialist is vital.
Back Pain is extremely common and usually self-limiting.
About 80% of people experience low back pain at some stage of their life. In the vast majority of cases, this is a self-limiting condition and not due to any serious cause. In this situation, the condition is known as non-specific or mechanical low back pain. Sixty percent of patients with acute low back pain recover in 6 weeks and up to 80% to 90% recover within 12 weeks. If the pain persists for greater than 3 months, it is considered chronic back pain.
Do I Need a Scan for my Back Pain?
For the majority of cases of low back pain, a scan is not necessary. There are certain ‘red flags’ indicators in your medical history which your pain specialist will ask about. If you fulfil several of these ‘red flags’ your specialist will organise a scan.
Red Flag Back Pain Indicators include:
- Previous history malignancy
- Aged under 16 or over 50 with new onset pain
- Unexplained weight loss
- Longstanding steroid use
- Saddle anaesthesia
- Reduced anal tone
- Generalised neurological deficit
- Progressive spinal deformity
- Urinary retention
- Non-mechanical pain (Night pain, pain at rest)
- Thoracic pain
- Fever/ rigors
- General malaise
As part of the initial assessment, you specialist will consider your ‘red flags’ and make a judgement as to whether a scan is necessary. If a number of red flags are present and your specialists considers a scan is necessary, this may lead to a referral to a spinal sureron for an opinion. This happens only on a very small minority of cases.
Do I need surgery for my back pain?
Approximately 98 percent of back pain patients are diagnosed with non-specific acute back pain in which no serious underlying pathology is identified. Therefore, for the vast majority of cases of back pain, surgery is not indicated nor required. The latest NICE guidelines state that surgery should not be considered for mechanical (non-specific) low back pain.
What treatments are offered for back pain?
All treatments are offered in conjunction with the latest National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines (Low back pain and sciatica in over 16s: assessment and management (NG59 Nov 2016)
Initial treatments offered include medical management and access to physiotherapy.
Other more interventional treatments for low back pain, including sciatica, include:
- Radiofrequency denervation techniques
- Sacroiliac joint injections
- Caudal injections
- Lumbar epidural injections
- Nerve root blocks
- Trigger point injections
Do Pain Specialists treat any other conditions?
Pain specialists treat a wide range of chronic pain conditions including:
CHRONIC FACIAL PAIN
MIGRAINE (Including Botox Injections)
POST HERPETIC NEURALGIA (Shingles pain)
ADHESIVE CAPSULITIS (FROZEN SHOULDER)
POST HERNIA SURGERY PAIN
CHRONIC ABDOMINAL WALL PAIN
DIABETIC PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHIC PAIN (DPNP)
SACROILIAC JOINT PAIN
POST SURGICAL PAIN
Pain Management Workshop
This workshop is run by Dr John O’Hanlon, a Pain Consultant and lead clinician for the Chronic Pain Department in the Belfast Trust and Dr Jenny Maguire, a Consultant Clinical Psychologist in the South Eastern Trust offers help and guidance on living with and managing pain.
If you would like to book an appointment or require further information on the options available to you, please do not hesitate to contact our Private Patient Booking Team through our direct contact form, by telephone on 02890667878, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.