Three years ago I developed lumbar spinal stenosis following a fall at work. I have since suffered chronic back pain and had to stop playing golf, which was my passion. I’m a 61-year-old man. I read about a new procedure called ‘X-Stop Spacer’ and would like to know if this treatment option might be suitable for my condition. Please help. I’m desperate to get my life back.
Mr Robert Dunsmuir, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Spire Leeds Hospital
The causes of low back pain are many and therefore attract various treatments to try to alleviate the problem. The underlying principle to therapy is to consider the symptoms, check for physical problems by examining you then deciding if investigations or spinal imaging will add significant information to determine a particular treatment plan.
The X-STOP device has been used for some years now. Although initially widely used with experience its use is now generally limited to a very small number of indications all of which produce leg pain. While you continue to suffer with only low back pain this device is unlikely to be of any benefit to you.
Given you have had pain for three years you should be assessed by a spinal specialist (doctor or physiotherapist). If your specialist diagnoses your symptoms as simple mechanical back pain then physiotherapy to strengthen your core abdominal and back muscles is most likely to help. Other additional modalities such an epidural pain relieving injections may be of benefit. Surgery for back pain can also help but the results of these operations are variable, and your specialist will be able to give you more advice if they think surgery is an appropriate option for you.