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Those from the UK?

patriotspykeppatriotspyke Posts: 18
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Excuse my low post count I used to be a member but then it said not verified and then I could not login, anyhow from all the members on here I see there are not many from the UK, but how about posting on this tread if you are from sunny England.

The UK NHS system makes our journey a fair bit different to people in other countries, in some ways it is easier as we have no insurance to sort out but getting passed red tape and waiting lists is more difficult.

Anyhow, I am 35 years old and 3 months or so post op C6/7 artificial disc replacement, doing very well and very happy I had the artificial disc, but just had an MRI on my lower back which shows a herniated disc at L5/S1 with three other discs showing degeneration, Facet arthropathy and a small scoliosis. All within 7 months of each other, im a very keen mountain biker so this has been a kick in the shins, I also have 2 young children so picking them up is painful. Im in Bristol and attend Frenchay Hospital.

Where are the other UK folk from?


  • hello Im am from harlow , essex ,
    my husband hails from Bristol I love it there !!!
  • I actually hail from Cambridge but my wife was my reason to move to Bristol..... :)

    i thought it may be good to get all the uk members to post up, share advice on hospitals and which surgeons are good etc, also know if any other spines are local etc.....
  • good to hear your getting it sorted, it does seem L5 S1 seems to be the common disc to go! just go with the flow, to be honest I found the injections worse than the operation! at least your asleep for it :)

    good luck!!
  • thanks , getting a bit nervous , but have started a blog of my countdown to the op
  • also from the uk back pain and 2 surgeries waiting for a third .location Manchester {Whitefield} hospital warrington {not allowed to mention the surgeon }

  • I am recovering from lumbar decompression and fusion at L4/L5, in March.

    I am now awaiting an appointment with a surgeon for an MRI scan of my neck. (Different surgeon)

    I am in Crawley, Sussex.
  • Yeah thats a good idea ,
    Im having a spinal fusion, and decompression on my L5 -S1 on the 21st sept at Princess Alexdandra Hospital ,
    ive suffred fron low back ache for quite a few years , after 2 failed injections and P/T and am finally being done after being under the ortho clinic for 2 and a half years
  • Hi All,

    I am From Surrey, Middlesex.
    Am 25 and had a microdiscectomy in Jan 2010. Lost my job in June due to so much sickness and have had 2nd MRI which shows I have re-herniated. Due to see my Surgeon in Sept. I agree that us in the UK on NHS have a lot of benefits but its just the waiting times!
    I was very lucky with my opp as the NHS were so busy after Xmas that I was rushed through privatly. Won't be so lucky with my 2nd i doubt!
  • Hello all,
    I was born and raised south of Sheffield, did my nurse training in Macclesfield and spent around 5 years working in London, before I met and married my Danish husband . I now live in Denmark and have ample opportunity to compare the Danish NHS and the NHS back home!

    I am still recovering from my re- fusion of S1-L4, where I have had 2 useless discs removed( replaced with PEEK spacers) and bi-lateral pars fracture and spondy fixed and imobilised with a small fortune of titanium ,
    I am so pleased to have some more Brits on board here !
  • HI
    I am nearly at the 6 month mark since my spinal decompression, discectomy and fusion on L4-L5-S1 which I had done at the BMI in Lincoln.

    I was very lucky to have health insurance through my work. I am currently trying to get work to let me back on reduced hours, however they want me to get the 6 month check up out the way first.
  • Im from sunny Devon, Exeter to be exact. Still deciding if I should go ahead with fusion at L4/L5 that disc has degenerated along with pars defect at L5/S1 with spondy grade 1 at L5/S1.
    Originally they wanted to do fusion at L5/S1 but have changed their mind, ME I think it makes sense to do both ???? any thoughts on this ???
    Not a candidate for disc replacement as I have facet osteoarthritis.
    Been dealing with this for 2 an a half yrs, believe it or not I have still not met the surgeon !!!
    Always fobbed off with his understudy, ah well such is the NHS.
    Had endless steroid facet injections, epidurals,root nerve blocks, physio, oh the joy of that for 9 months,not forgetting the wonderfully painful experience of a discogram,currently in a flare up of pain, just added oxycodone to the mix.
    Got to keep smiling as the other option just drains even more from us, glad to be part of the gang
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    I was born and raised in South London, then lived on London/Surrey border till coming to Morocco

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Hi I'm from Gloucester which is 30 miles up the road from you patriotspyke.

    I'm off to Coventry tomorrow for my pre-surgery appointment to see if I'm fit for the impending surgery.
    L4/5 fusion.

    I ended up being treated in Coventry as the specialists in Gloucester said there was little wrong with my back.I ended up in the Pain Clinic where I had an epidural which made my pain even worse.
    I was then referred to a surgeon for Percudyn Stabilisation surgery which I had in February 2010 but it's not been successful so the screws are coming out to be replaced with plates and screws I think.
  • It does seem like we in the UK have to struggle with long waiting times !! I had my preops 28th of May and only just got my op date last week .
    Does anyone feel that sometimes the injections . physio etc are a bit silly considering that most of us ended up needing surgery anyway ??
    they could have saved a bit of money on needless treatments and used it on treatment that works .
    Surely they must work out that a percentage of injections fail and it shows on data ??
    Whats your line of thinking ??

  • I think that the injections do help some people. I do know a couple of people who have never needed to move up to more intrusive type of treatments.
    I suppose that is why they try them first. It is always better to see if less invasive treatments will work before going in and permanently altering the spine. The long waiting times in the UK do mean that while we are waiting, we have to suffer pain for months.

    It took me over 2 years to work my way up to surgery, but a lot of that was me trying to avoid it. :SS
    I didn't try any injections as by the time I saw the surgeon, he said I was too bad for that and needed fusion surgery to avoid ending up in a wheelchair.


    I had a fusion of L4/L5 where my spondylolisthesis was. On the MRI scan, I was told by one doctor, that the disc above and below were already degenerated and I might need another level or two fused or a device put in to take the strain (Wallis ligament or similar). The surgeon didn't think it was needed and so has left those discs. I hope that they will be ok!
    I know what you mean though. I also thought while he is there wouldn't it make sense to sort everything out to avoid future surgery.

    There are more of us from the UK here than I thought! :-)
  • hi im Paula and im from Northern Ireland.
    went to Yorkshire for my first operaton back in 1997 due to back log of waiting list here......sound familiar anyone?????

    LOVE P

  • Hi,
    I was wondering what people's experience of waiting time for an MRI scan in the UK on the NHS has been.

    I have just been referred for one on my neck, and was wondering how long it is likely to take.
  • depends on your hospital and surgeon or who ever ordered it. I waited 2 months for an MRI ordered by my GP, the surgeon ordered a new one, my wait time after seeing him 20 mins! straight in and that was a general appointment to discuss issues. If the person who ordered it has any clout it can be quick but I think the average in the UK is around 2-4 months depending on location, waiting lists etc

  • My GP has referred me to a neurosurgeon as he said he wasn't able to order an MRI scan.

    I think that the surgeon will order the scan. Hopefully that will happen the same day I see him, if I have the same experience as you.

  • Mine was about 2 months waiting time too . I've had 2 MRIs and a CT scan
  • Hi Paula,
    I've had around 5 MRI's in the last 3½ years and I think the average wait for me was about 1½ months for each.
    I recently had CT and Bone scans which only took about 2 weeks to arrange but I think that was down to the fact that my last surgery seems to have failed.
  • when i read stories about the problems that some SH member have getting there painkillers and this like {my worker comp etc has run out } sorry if i have not got that correct ..but you know what i mean ..i thank the NHS for the fact that you can see a doctor anytime and get as many drugs as you need and bee seen in a hospital of your own choice without paying a penny and our hospitals and the most up to date in the world .also the NHS tend to fix up people that have had things like cosmetic procedure in other parts of the world {and its gone wrong} but the NHS just get on with it without charging.i would hate to see the bill for my pain killers in just one year let alone all the treatments i have had over the years ..so even though we complain about the NHS i would not like to be without it ..plus it pays our mortgage!
  • but am a London girl at heart. We've lived in South Yorkshire for 20 years now having moved up from London, where I was born and bred. I still don't always understand the Yorkshire accent!!!

    Previously I had two back surgeries in Sheffield (in a BUPA hospital - very nice, it was like staying in a hotel). My last surgery (L5-S1, L4-L5 fusion) was done in Stockton on Tees and so far, very successful in my opinion. I had it done nearly 6 weeks ago.

    I'm not 100 per cent yet and am still recovering and hopefully doing all the things I can to help myself get a successful result in the long term.

    The NHS is brilliant. I've had back pain for over 5 years and have been offered all the conservative treatments - which I've taken in the hope that it would resolve my back pain and therefore I would not need further surgery. As it happens, nothing helped in the end, but I'm pleased I tried all the other options first.

    I am very grateful to the NHS for their support. I've been able to get 2nd, 3rd AND 4th!! opinions over the years, though it does help to have a very understanding local GP (because without his help/backing, any referral wouldn't have been sent off in the first place). I went to the hospital of my choice (Stockton on Tees) after reading a very interesting article in the newspapers last year. At my first appointment I was very lucky to be seen by his colleague-a 'fellow' (who then fetched the top surgeon in to meet me). Also, they both actually performed my operation. I was offered an earlier operation date by a different surgeon, but I was not happy with the consultation by his 'registrar' or the procedure he was planning to do - so I opted to wait for the surgeon that I had 100 per cent faith in - I didn't care how long I would have to wait. I thought that if you want to see one particular NHS specialist, then it was best to see them privately for the initial consultation (and thereafter, hopefully, they will keep you on their books, so-to-speak). I wonder what other people's views on this are?

    I used to work for the NHS a few years ago and know only too well about the issues surrounding short staff, funding, bed blocking, lack of resources etc. etc. and with additional strains of having to cope with medical emergencies from visitors to the UK, I can see how these things 'sap the strength' from a system which I believe is fundamentally a good one. Hopefully the new Government can inject some common sense and find new ways of dealing with all the problems the NHS currently face. I do hope so.

    Has anyone who has had a fusion in the UK been given a back brace to wear? I regularly see posts from people abroad (USA?) who wear these braces and they seem very constricting. I have never heard of anyone in the UK being provided with one - I wonder why this is and am intrigued at the long term outcome of people who do and do not use one. Does anyone know?

    As usual, I've gone off the beaten track a bit - soz!!
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • my consultant anesthetist and i had a good relationship for over 10 years .but after ten years of injection various in my spine i cant have any more and to be honest with you apart from the first one .i never got more than 24 hours pain relief from them if fact they made things worse ..
    so i had a chat with my doctor and she told me that when a back is a fu%%%%as mind injections aren't going to do anything ..the only time someone gets a good result from a n injection to the spine is when the spine is essentially healthy and the patient has got back pain that does not involve a bony injury .so that would be slight nerve damage .say from lifting something wrong ..but for the most if us with fu%%%%%% backs injections aren't worth a jot.if rest and exercise wont clear the problem then surgery maybe the only way ...then you must make sure you pick a well respected surgeon ..or you are asking for trouble
  • i just need someone from the uk to talk to.
    For the past 2 years i have suffered like everyone, drugs cocktails and more drugs. lumbar epidurals x 2 then 2 MRIs followed with a listed Discogram .... procedure changed at the very last second literally on the theatre table by the consultant surgeon. underwent 2 sacroiliac joint injections with 2 lumbar facet joint injections. it appears after 4 weeks to be helping on my previous bad side (the right) but has now caused no end of problems on my previously good side (my left). I was on one crutch, now im on 2 crutches with my left leg giving way on me and sharp tearing waves of pain when endeavouring to walk. I was all prepared for 2 titanium disk replacements and now im left wondering worrying what on earth has gone on. I see surgeon on 9th sseptember after atteding a/e in agony they brought my 3 month review date forward. No one seems to be getting to the bottom of this pain, never mind organising a strategic plan of action. On mst and oromorph followed byn a voltarol chaser. I hate taking tablets , im getting desperate. During my consult he is always so busy and i just feel like a number.....can anyone guide me on the right questions to ask him, i just sit and cry. please help.
  • Hi Sue,
    I'm sorry to hear that you're in so much pain.This time last year I was on MST 200mgs every 12 hours and although it helped it played havoc with other parts of my body.
    My follow up appointment is also on 9th September and I'm going to be discussing my fusion of L4/5 straight after the removal of the titanium percudyn implants that have done no good.
    Where in the U.K are you?
    I'm in Gloucester but seeing a surgeon in Coventry after a referral from the pain clinic here in Gloucester.

    There is another thread here somewhere where someone has put down a list of good questions to ask a surgeon.I'll try and find it and put in a link to it if I can.
  • Hi Susan

    Most if not all surgeons will always try injections 1st otherwise they could be sued for not trying all other measures before surgery! I do however think you need to speak to your surgeon / consultant and let him know how bad you are and your concerns that all is not moving on as you hope. I see you are seeing him in a week and a bit. Be honest and dont hold back, say your feeling like a number and are concerned the injections made things worse and demand a plan of action!

    I hope the appointment goes well for you! Where are you from?

    I am now waiting till november to see my surgeon and see what he will do about 4 nackered discs in my lower back.... the wait is killing me,

  • No brace for me.

    It is good to hear that you are still doing well. :-)
    Keep it up!
  • Hi, I am from the UK (Hereford, origionally Gloucester) I am looking for any info regarding having a wallis ligament fitted along with a discectomy as I have a large herniation to my L4/L5 disc. I have seen the MRI scan and it looks terrible (like it is going right through my spinal cord). I have suffered with on off back pain for about 5 years now and the doctors have always blamed it on muscle spasms - finally referring me to have an MRI scan that shows this large herniation. God knows how long it has been like this or if it has only been like this since my last really bad back pain that started about 6/7 weeks ago.

    I am being looked after by physiotherapists at the moment but went to see a surgeon in a BMI hospital in Edgebaston yesterday and he has said to try physio but I will need surgery at some point, I am an ideal candidate for the Wallis ligament implant and it is my decision as to when I have it. I questioned him about injections and he said they just mask the pain (sometimes) and dont cure the problem.
    The dilemma is whether to have it done now / next 6 months or to wait until it is urgent (how long is a piece of string) but to have to constantly worry about everything I do and any thought of exercise would come with constant risk.
    I am 30 yrs old and usually very active, into all sorts of sports including rock climbing, cycling, running, skydiving etc and have already had to stop all of this due to pain.

    Has anyone got any suggestions? whether to ward off surgery and live a sedentary life until surgery is urgent, with risk of damaging nerves beyond repair ...... or bite the bullet and have surgery sooner to hopefully be able to enjoy and active life again with the risks that come with the surgery being a worry.

    Is there any success stories / horror stories, pros and cons.
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