About spinal care

The spinal column provides the main support for your body, allowing you to stand upright, bend, and twist, while protecting the spinal cord from injury. Strong muscles and bones, flexible tendons and ligaments, and sensitive nerves make up a healthy spine which allows you to go about your daily tasks. Yet, any of these structures affected by strain, injury, or disease can cause pain. 

Conditions which can affect the spine and cause pain or disability are broadly grouped into degenerative, traumatic injury, deformity and tumours.

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You'll be seen by one of our world-class spinal surgeons with expert training in their sub-specialty. Pioneering the latest surgical procedures, they offer patients the very highest levels of care. 

Spinal conditions

Lower back pain

The Spine is made up of 24 bones called vertebrae and between each is a disc which acts a shock absorber in the spinal column. Sometimes these discs can wear out and press on the spinal cord or nerves causing lower back pain.

Slipped disc

A 'slipped' disc occurs when the disc starts to degenerate, causing the disc to bulge backwards and even split. This can press on the spinal cord or nerves, causing pain.

Spinal stenosis

As we get older, wear and tear, or an inherited predisposition, our spinal canal can become too narrow, compressing the nerves inside. This is known as spinal stenosis.

Neck pain

Neck pain can happen if you've strained a muscle or sat or slept in an awkward position. Bad posture, anxiety and stress can also lead to neck pain.

Ankylosing spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a long-term condition that causes inflammation in the spine and other areas. It is more common in men, and mostly begins during your teens or early adulthood.


Arachnoiditis is the inflammation of the arachnoid lining — one of three linings to protect the brain and spinal cord. The condition causes intense burning pain and stinging sensations.

Cauda equina syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome (CES) is damage to the bundle of nerves below the end of the spinal cord known as the cauda equina. Symptoms include lower back pain which radiates down the leg, numbness and loss of bowel or bladder control.

Spinal injuries

Spinal cord injury

With a spinal cord injury, damage to nerve cells (neurons) and fibres means they are unable to carry signals from the brain beyond the point of injury. This can result in a loss of sensory and muscle control.

Spinal fractures

Spinal fractures can have a significant impact on your quality of life, and even lead to life changing circumstances. They don’t always involve trauma and can result from less common but serious conditions such as infection and cancer or even osteoporosis.

Infections of the Spine

Spinal infections can occur after surgery or spontaneously in individuals at risk of infection. Risk factors include poor nutrition, cancer, diabetes, immunosuppressive conditions or high BMI. Prolonged surgery or repeat operations can also cause infections.

Learn more about our Children and Adolescent's Scoliosis Service

Find out more about the only dedicated paediatric and young adult private spinal and scoliosis unit in the UK.

More about The Portland Hospital's scoliosis and spinal unit

Childhood spinal conditions

Back pain in children and teens

Children and teens are more flexible than adults, so they tend not to experience much back pain. If it does happen, it could be a sign of something more serious, so it's worth getting it checked out.

HyperKyphosis in children

If your child has Kyphosis, you may be able to identify this from a curvature of their spine when viewed from the side. Scoliosis is a curvature seen from the front. It is possible for both conditions to be present in the same child.

Spina bifida

Spina bifida happens when a baby's spine doesn't develop properly in the womb, leaving a gap in their spine. It can cause bowel and bladder problems in later life. In some severe cases, it can lead to mobility issues and paralysis.

Tumours of the spine


In general, tumours of the spine cause problems when they compress nerves or the spinal cord itself. This may result in paralysis and loss of bowel or bladder control. The tumour may destroy the bone and cause spinal fractures leading to back pain.

Types of spinal surgery

Open surgery is the traditional type of surgery where an incision is made. Recently, minimally invasive surgery is becoming more widely used because of the perceived advantages of less disruption to body tissues and reduced blood loss, in addition to quicker recovery. 

However some types of surgery still require access to larger areas for insertion of implants. Your consultant will help you decide which approach is best for you.

Types of spinal surgery

Slipped disc diagnosis and treatment

A ruptured disc nucleus can cause pinched nerves and back pain. Read our indepth Q&A and how to prevent a slipped disc.

Spinal care locations

We offer the latest spinal diagnostics and procedures at convenient locations across the UK.

Private Spinal care in Birmingham

Request a spinal appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced spinal consultants. We can also make imaging and outpatient physiotherapy appointments for you.

Call us today

020 7079 4344
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