25 October 2017
Beth Haxby, of Spire Norwich Hospital, talks to Mr Am Rai, Consultant Spinal Surgeon and a Norfolk patient, Katherine age 90, about her cumulative back and leg pain, and how surgery changed her life.
Katherine, prior to your appointment with Mr Rai, what symptoms were you experiencing?
“Three years ago I was cleaning the bathroom, when I slipped and fell against the glass shower door. Initially I didn’t think any damage had been done, but gradually I started getting increasingly severe back pain and pain down my right leg. I had these pains for about four or five months, and no medication I was prescribed was helping."
What prompted you to contact Spire Norwich Hospital?
“My neighbours had recommended Spire Norwich Hospital, as a few of them had visited and said how great their experience was. Also I didn’t want to be added to a waiting list, and wanted to get seen as quickly as possible."
Mr Rai, what was your diagnosis of Katherine’s condition?
“Katherine has a condition called spinal stenosis which is a narrowing of the nerves in the spinal canal. Patients often complain of severe back pain with pain radiating into the legs, and they experience pins and needles, numbness and weakness when they try to walk. I am seeing more and more people in their 80’s and 90’s being diagnosed with this condition, which can severely limit a person’s mobility and can interfere with their independence."
Katherine, tell me the process you followed once you’d made the initial enquiry?
“I was quickly seen by Mr Rai for my initial consultation. He undertook an examination, asked me questions about my quality of life and recommended I had an x-ray. The results of the x-ray confirmed I had spinal stenosis. To correct this, it was recommended that I underwent decompressive surgery. I was very impressed with the turnaround time; from my initial consultation to having my procedure was only three to four weeks.”
Mr Rai, what is Spinal Stenosis and how did the surgery help?
“Spinal stenosis is the medical term for narrowing of the spinal canal which becomes restricted by overgrowth of bones, ligaments or discs that press on the nerves. Although it can occur in any part of the spine, the lower back (lumbar) and neck (cervical) areas are most commonly affected. The aim of the procedure performed on Katherine is to relieve pressure in the lower back by removing the bone or ligament that is pressing on the spinal nerves; it’s this pressure on the nerves which was causing her such discomfort."
How did the operation change your quality of life?
“I feel so much better now; I don’t suffer with any pains. I used to not be able to get comfortable in bed, and now I climb into bed pain-free. I love walking and being outdoors which I can do again now, so the procedure has made a huge difference in my quality of life. I was very happy with the results, and would definitely recommend Mr Rai and Spire Norwich Hospital."
Mr Rai, how do you measure the success of the surgery?
“In carefully selected cases and with the appropriate surgical training, patients can get a good result from decompressive surgery, as Katherine’s case illustrates. Some of our most grateful patients are those that have spinal stenosis. All of my patients fill out outcome data forms which mean that I can look at my group of patients and give a figure for how they are doing post-operatively. This allows me to compare my results with other surgeons and other units from across the country."
For further information about back pain arrange an appointment with your family doctor or call Spire Norwich Hospital on 01603 255 614 to make a private appointment with Mr Am Rai. For further details regarding common back conditions visit Mr Rai’s website www.norwichspineclinic.co.uk.
All surgery carries an element of risk and the content of this page is provided for general information only. It should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional.