It affects 80% of people, costs businesses huge amount of money through lost work hours – BACK PAIN and other orthopaedic conditions are a huge problem .

Many people often don’t know where to start – their GP, the physio, osteopath, chiropractor or should they go straight to the surgeon?

Studies on GROUPS of people may show a particular treatment works but then another study will show it doesn’t work – so it can be confusing for the doctors not just patients.

For one person intramuscular acupuncture or manipulation might be the answer but for someone else it will be useless– the trick is knowing how to spot what and why one thing will work for one person and not for the other – which is something I think we are generally quite good at, at Spine Plus.

With modern technologies such as MRI scans it is now possible to see right INSIDE a patients spine and get information you won’t see on x-ray or detect by examining a patient in clinic…and this is why surgeons will so often diagnose from an MRI scan.

However, as most spinal surgeons will tell you 80 – 90% of people going to them don’t need surgery. So the patient might end up seeing a physical therapist… most therapists will do their assessment looking and feeling with their hands – this gives additional valuable information on how a patients spine IS MOVING and this is something which most surgeons won’t do to the same extent. BUT the therapists will usually pay little attention to the pictures on the scan as most get very little if any training in actually looking at MRI scans. This is such a shame as this can then tell your whether a particular manipulation or traction, focussed at a certain level spine is likely to help them or harm that patient or whether they would be better off having an injection.

And it’s no good, in my experience, relying on an unknown radiologist’s report. I’ve lost count the number of times I have seen a significant finding on an MRI scan that has not been reported, be that a disc that is torn, swelling around a particular vertebrae, a slipped disc or even worse.

So depending on who they see, patients often end up with either no scan or no manual assessment or if they do have these they are done by different people with no-one to tie to the two together!

At Spine Plus we only use trusted radiologists to report on our scans but we also train our practitioners to know what they are looking for on MRI’s of the spine (which is something I think very few manual therapy clinics do effectively).

Whilst you we could be considered to specialise in spinal conditions, patient also see us for other orthopaedic conditions such as shoulder pain, arm, leg and foot problems for which we try to use the same pragmatic approach.

When it comes to treatment all our clinics offer several options including expert hands on therapy from our osteopaths and physios, exercise advice and trigger point dry needling (sometime known as medical acupuncture). In addition we are one of the UK’s most experienced and most proliferate providers of more specialist treatments such IDD Spinal Decompression Therapy and Shockwave Therapy which is available at several of our clinics.

We have also made it job to get to know a number of surgeons and other specialists so that if it comes to surgery and injections we can recommend who we think is the right consultant for the task.

And we have our range of therapy products which we have personally tested and help design so that people can treat themselves at home in the most effective way possible.