The London Spine Clinic Physical Therapy Unit
The unit has been designed to allow expert assessments to be performed on patients with spinal and other related problems. Housing the unit in the same area as the consultation suites allows for combined consultations when needed. For example, if, for a particular patient, surgery is the best treatment option, the patient may be seen in a joint consultation by the surgeon and therapist. This allows the patient to discuss the global issues regarding the impending operation, as well as the very important aspects of the overall treatment, namely return to fitness thereafter.
A view of the Spine Gym within the unit
If the situation is severe and surgery is needed, many patients will benefit from undertaking an exercise regime before their operation, to hasten their recovery afterwards. This can all be achieved at the London Spine Clinic, where joint consultations, between the operating surgeon and physical therapist can be arranged.
Having access to podiatric advice and prosthetic in-house allows a smoother path for the patient, despite what are often quite complicated problems, related to mobility, walking and gait patterns. The unit ties in closely with the osteopathic unit of the London Spine Clinic, with joint consultation and treatments where needed. Advice on dietary modification in regard to the spinal problem will be given, or appropriate referral to a dietitian or nutritionist will be made. most people are stressed at the prospect of undergoing back surgery, even though this is often a lot less invasive than is generally believed. Counselling is available in-house, to manage these issues.
Most back problems result from a combination of poor posture, either when seated at a desk at work, or during walking and in particular lifting. Furthermore, inappropriate self-taught exercises may actually make matters worse. This can lead to chronic pain in the lower back (lumbar spine) or neck (cervical spine). People in certain occupations or with particular recreational habits may be more prone to such problems. A number of people are born with a weakness in the spine, which may predispose them to problems, such as back pain, later in life.
These problems are exactly the ones which therapy can address. The trained physical therapist can, through a range of postural and dynamic exercises, educate the patient to develop a better posture or lifting pattern and by improving muscle tone, as well as usage, increase overall fitness. Most patients who are seen in the clinic will be offered physiotherapy as their initial treatment option, unless they have a condition requiring urgent surgery, or they have already been under an experienced physical therapist and failed to benefit. Such patients may well go on to need surgery. Any patient undergoing an intervention procedure at the London Spine Clinic will be pre-assessed by our own, highly trained, staff. This should smooth the course after treatment and should improve the overall outcome. The patient will be aware of the necessary goals in terms of recovery that are likely to be set, and how best to achieve these.
The other facility of great value is the hydrotherapy pool. This is situated within the Spinal Surgery Unit of the London Clinic and is an excellent way of initiating exercises in patients, either in the post-operative period, or when they have been relatively immobile for a long time. The pool is staffed by dedicated, trained hydro-therapists and can be accessed either by stairs or a hoist (for the less mobile). The temperature is kept at a steady 94 degrees Fahrenheit to ease any muscle discomfort and allow the patient to exercise more effectively.Patients undergoing invasive treatments may benefit from an exercise program coupled with a detailed spinal rehabilitation program, which may be run jointly with their local physiotherapist and the rehabilitation team at the London Spine Clinic.
Recently new techniques have been introduced by the therapy team. These include K-laser treatment, to reduce inflammation after injury and IDD therapy, to decrease pressure in and around damaged tissues and facilitate healing.