Spinal treatments

The most common spinal treatments are listed below. Mark offers other treatments, depending on the condition or disorder, which include spinal fusions and intradural surgery.

Pain injections

Pain injections can be excellent treatments for flare-ups of arm and leg pain. A combination of local anaesthetic and steroids are introduced under X-ray guidance close to the irritated nerve root. This provides temporary relief of arm or leg pain until the condition resolves over time. This is a low-risk intervention, performed under local anaesthetic as a daycase procedure.

Transforaminal epidural steroid injection is a good option to help with symptoms of sciatica in the early period.

close-up picture of someone having a spinal treatment injection in their back by doctor wearing blue latex gloves

Considerations for surgical spinal treatment

Spinal surgery is a serious undertaking that can transform patients’ quality of life when carefully selected. Surgery should be targeted to relieve arm and leg pain or prevent functional deterioration. The surgical approach should minimise soft tissue disruption which is important for long-term spinal health. The risks and benefits of any intervention should be understood and carefully considered in all cases.

close-up picture of a tray showing various surgical instruments for a spinal treatment methodically organised

Spinal surgical treatments

Anterior cervical decompression and fusion

This operation decompresses the spinal cord and nerve roots and fuses the spine at one level in the neck. The approach involves a horizontal incision at the front of the neck and moving important structures to the side to access the front of the spine. The disc is removed in its entirety and replaced with a cage filled with a bone graft that fixes that segment of the spine.

This operation is used to treat cervical radiculopathy and cervical myelopathy. The operation usually entails a one-night stay in the hospital, and patients tend to make quick recoveries and return to normal life.

Current guidelines strongly recommend surgery for patients with moderate and severe cervical myelopathy.

Up to 50% of patients report some improvement in function following surgical treatment of cervical myelopathy.

picture of a spine model showing area of anterior cervical decompression fusion

Posterior cervical decompression

This operation decompresses the spinal cord or nerve root from the back of the neck. This involves a small incision at the back of the neck and moving the muscle off the back of the spine to expose the bone. A small trapdoor is made in the bone to decompress the spinal cord or nerve roots. Great care is taken to minimise soft tissue disruption as this can slow recovery.

This operation is used to treat cervical radiculopathy and cervical myelopathy. The operation can be done as a daycase or with a one night stay in hospital.

picture of a spine model showing area of posterior cervical decompression

Lumbar decompression / microdiscectomy

This operation decompresses lumbar nerves that are compressed and causing leg symptoms. A small incision is made in the lower back and muscle is retracted to expose the back of the spine. A small trapdoor is made in the bone to decompress the nerve roots. If there is a disc prolapse, the fragment of disc contributing to the compression is also removed.

This operation is used to treat sciatica and lumbar canal stenosis. This operation can be done as a daycase and early mobilisation is recommended.

Surgery provides fast pain relief and should be considered in patients with sciatica who have failed conservative management.

Patients with symptomatic spinal stenosis treated surgically have greater improvement in pain and function through four years.

picture of a spine model showing area of lumbar decompression microdiscectomy

Get in touch

For advice on degenerative and other spinal problems, please get in touch to arrange your consultation.