The new treatment for back pain

The story of the spinal implant treatment that delivered incredible results for a man recovering from a serious accident.

A highly promising new treatment, which was introduced in the UK in 2016, has proven its potential in relieving severe back pain. Jamil Hussain, 40, has undergone a rapid recovery from a degenerative spinal condition thanks to the new ‘spaghetti’ implant. Read on to find out his story.

How it began

Jamil Hussain
Jamil Hussain took part in a climb of Ben Nevis for charity in 2015. He had a serious fall while climbing down the mountain and had to be airlifted to hospital, where he was treated for soft tissue injuries and diagnosed with a haematoma. Jamil’s doctor also warned him that there was a chance one of the discs in his spine had been damaged which might cause problems later on.

“It was incredibly painful and I couldn’t move very well at all. I was told it could take up to 6 months to heal, which was disappointing but I knew I’d been incredibly lucky that I hadn’t broken my back or worse. Still, I couldn’t ride my bike, play football or even play with my kids properly”, recalls Jamil.

Nine months later

Consultant
Nine months after the accident, Jamil was not recovering as well as he’d hoped – if anything, his back pain was even worse. Despite undergoing physiotherapy and trying various different methods of pain management, nothing seemed to be working. He explains: “I still couldn’t ride my bike to work and I couldn’t bear anyone being near my back because it was so tender. It was really starting to get me down and I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t getting better.”

After a severe spasm which saw him rushed to hospital in an ambulance, he decided to seek advice from BMI Healthcare. The doctor he saw was Mr Ishaque, Consultant Spinal Surgeon at BMI The Priory Hospital. Mr Ishaque quickly realised that the cause of Jamil’s pain wasn’t the haematoma after all, but the damaged disc in his back.

Trying the spinal implant

Taking advice from his consultant, Jamil decided to try a relatively new treatment to help repair the damage to the disc and relieve the pain. The spinal implant was only tried for the first time in 2016, but it showed huge promise in treating cases such as Jamil’s.

Mr Ishaque describes what happened in the procedure: “A small needle cannula was put into the centre of the intervertebral disc and short spaghetti-like implants were inserted into the nucleus of the problematic disc. Just like pasta in water, the implants swell to about 10 times their size absorbing natural body fluids within an hour and a half of the procedure being done.”

The procedure was carried out under local anaesthetic and Jamil was able to go home the same day.

But what is it about this new treatment that makes it so effective?

“Because the implants swell up to provide both height and volume in the damaged discs, they can provide a significant cushioning effect compared with previous procedures and patients can feel significant relief within four weeks of the procedure being carried out,” Mr Ishaque explains.

Jamil now

A year after his accident, and three months on from having the spinal implants inserted, Jamil is almost fully recovered and back to living a normal life. He’s cycling to work again and can play with his kids for the first time since his fall.

“I’m so pleased to be able to do the things I love doing without being in agony – I feel like I’ve been given my life back.”

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