How is long term back pain managed?

As we reach the finale of series two of HCA UK’s ‘Health Fact vs Fiction’ podcast, Anna Richardson gets to the root of back pain and its causes with Mr Chris Chandler from the London Neurosurgery Partnership.


Listen to 'Put Your Back Into It' on:

Episode 19 - Put Your Back Into It

As with many reoccurring physical injuries, it’s impossible for many of us to understand just how debilitating back pain can be until we’ve actually experienced it. Unfortunately, that likelihood is greater than we might expect, with four in every five people estimated to visit their GP about the condition at some stage in our lives.

As Chris tells Anna, whereas some are ‘lucky’ to have a single episode of the injury they can recover from, the domino effect of ongoing back pain can be truly detrimental to one’s lifestyle – and so it’s vitally important to identify different symptoms and causes as early as possible.

Things we learn in this episode about back care

Staggeringly, 80% of us will see our GP about back pain in our lives. It’s one of the leading causes of disability worldwide and one of the most common causes of people missing work. Anna Richardson puts her back into understanding the causes with Consultant Neurosurgeon, Mr Chris Chandler, from the London Neurosurgery Partnership and HCA Healthcare UK’s The Harley Street Clinic.

Back care Fiction

‘If you have a bad back, you’ll always have a bad back’. In fact, it’s common to have a single episode of back pain for a brief time that you will recover from, and it won’t be a long term issue.

Back pain Fact

Back pain is not just for the elderly. Chris tells Anna it can even affect children who can develop severe back pain due to their skeletons growing very quickly.

Slipped disc Fiction

‘If you have a slipped disc, you’ll need an operation’. Chris explains that 90% of patients with herniated discs require no surgery as part of their treatment. Most patients will be prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs, combined with treatment from a physiotherapist.

Back pain Fiction 

‘Pain is always the first symptom of back pain’. In fact, Chris says he often sees patients who may not have any pain in their back but do have pain in their legs that may indicate spinal problems.

Back care and smoking Fact

Smoking is bad for your back. Chris tells Anna that smoking is linked to major disc problems, due to smoking’s impact on our blood supply.

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Mr Chris Chandler

Mr Chris Chandler is a Consultant Neurosurgeon at the London Neurosurgery Partnership and The Harley Street Clinic, part of HCA Healthcare UK.  Chris is also one of the designated Neurosurgeons to the regional Adult Brain and Spinal Cord Tumour Service, which covers South East London, Kent and East Sussex and is the largest brain tumour service in the UK. Additionally, he leads the Paediatric/Teenage and Young Adult Neurosurgical Service at King’s College Hospital. 
Chris has a BSc in Physiology and obtained his medical degree from the University of London, Westminster Medical School in 1986. His neurosurgical training was at the Atkinson Morley’s Hospital, King’s College Hospital, Frenchay Hospital Bristol and Queens Medical Centre Nottingham.

Chris’ clinical interests are across all aspects of Paediatric Neurosurgery and Neuro-Oncology. This includes the management of brain and spinal cord tumours across all age groups, metastatic brain tumours, epilepsy and hydrocephalus.  He is also an expert in degenerative spine disease including the management of back and neck pain, arm pain and sciatica.

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