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Conservative Management of Degenerative Spinal Conditions

General Advice

  • Gentle mobilisation is recommended for up to six weeks during the acute phase.

  • Use regular analgesic medication under the guidance of your doctor.

  • While it is beneficial to keep mobile, use common sense and avoid activities that exacerbate your pain.

  • For neck pain a small pillow in nape of neck may be helpful. 

  • For a back pain using small pillow under knees when lying on your back or between your knees when lying on your side may be more comfortable. 

  • Prevent constipation caused by strong analgesia medication by increasing fluids and fibre rich foods. If needed use aperients such as Movicol and Coloxyl.

  • Application of ice/heat packs may help but must be used carefully to prevent burns.





Non-surgical therapy

  • A dedicated approach to treatment and exercises is required for them to have effect.

  • There is little evidence that one form of treatment is more beneficial than another although

       many patients find them to be helpful.

  • Treatment options may include: Physiotherapy, Chiropractic, Osteopathy, Acupuncture or 

       Massage therapy.

  • If your symptoms worsen it may be necessary to modify or discontinue treatment


Spinal injections

  • These may be recommended by your doctor for severe pain or pain that does not improve over time.

  • They involve the use a of steroid injection and local anaesthetic under guidance of X-ray or CT scan.

  • Injections can be performed in a radiology practice or in hospital, ask our staff for more information.

  • Results vary and usually provide temporary relief.


Surgical treatment

  • Consideration for surgical treatment may be appropriate in the following conditions

                  Lack of improvement in pain after 6-8 weeks of non-surgical treatment.

                  Ongoing severe and disabling pain.

                  Severe neurological symptoms such as weakness or loss of bladder or bowel control.

  • Surgery is not appropriate for all spinal conditions and must be undertaken after a

                  thorough assessment and discussion with your doctor. 

  • Surgical procedures will vary depending on your particular condition and may include

                  Decompression of the painful nerve roots / spinal cord through removal of bone 

                  (laminectomy) and/or bulging discs (discectomy) OR

                  Decompression of the painful nerve roots or discs in conjunction with fusion of

                  unstable or painful segments of the spine OR

                  Removal and replacement of painful intervertebral discs with a prosthesis.

  • If surgery is indicated your surgeon will explain the procedure in detail including the 

expected outcome, recovery and potential risks. ​

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