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About a month ago I had an acute spasm in my neck which seemed to trigger off after holding my 6-week-old granddaughter. The pain was severe enough for me to nearly contemplate a trip to A&E. I have been suffering from terrible pins and needles and pain down one arm for some time and so I presumed it was connected. I decided against A&E and saw someone at my local Health Centre instead.

He advised me to see a consultant as my spinal history is very complicated, so an MRI was arranged and a trip to see a Neurosurgeon was booked.

Yesterday I met with a Neurosurgeon and Complex Spine Surgeon, Mr Rafid Al-Mahfoudh, Spine & Brain. I had a lengthy and extremely thorough meeting with him. His whole attitude and demeanour towards my complicated spine were like a breath of fresh air.

Having dealt with spinal problems for over 30 years I have met and been under several different consultants and before we moved from the Midlands to the South I was looked after by a lovely pain consultant who had the same type of aura about him.

Meeting someone who you can tell really cares and wants to really listen is something quite unique nowadays as many medical professionals simply just do not have the time to spend with everyone. But I am a bit complicated which can makes it quite difficult to get an accurate diagnosis.

I am now going to be under the care of Mr Al-Mahfoudh as that is something that I feel I need. After all my previous surgeries in my lumber and cervical spine I knew that eventually it would all catch up with me and the discs above and below my fusions would get worn out.

Our discs dry up with age anyway so if they are working twice as hard then wear and tear is inevitable. It is my sacroiliac joints that seem to have taken the brunt of the work after my lumber fusions and both now have arthritis in them.

Mr. Al-Mahfoud’s first priority was my neck which was why I went to see him in the first place, and he felt the symptoms and MRI scan showed a disc herniation at C6/7. Of course, surgery is always something you can have but as many of you have read before it is something I said I would never, ever have again. So, we are going down the conservative route first and I am having a CT guided steroid injection where he also wants to get some more images of my cervical spine and I am following some of the neck exercises he has on his website, Spine & Brain.

These are extremely easy to follow exercises which I did last night. There was one which brought on the arm pain and pins and needles, so I am going to give that a miss next time. There are other exercises you can follow which include Herniated Disk Rehabilitation Exercise, Low Back Pain Exercise, Lumbar Extension Strengthening Exercise and the ones I did which are Neck Strain Rehabilitation Exercises.

The website is a mind of information with lots of different spinal conditions and Basic Rules for a Healthy Back.

I have recently had another CT guided injection into my left sacroiliac joint for that pain. The one I had in my right sacroiliac joint last year was a great success, but the left has hardly taken any pain away. The right is now also playing up which means my lumber spine is giving me some grief at the moment.

With regards to my lumber problems Mr. Ak-Mahfoudh is sending me to see an Osteopath to see if he can help with any of that pain, if not then I will chat again about maybe a repeat injection in my right sacroiliac joint or try some radio frequency ablation, which is something I have not tried before.

I have been very lucky to find someone I feel I can put my trust into to look after my spine especially with moving so far away from my previous team in the Midlands. Having faith in your consultant is essential in how you deal with you pain but also having a very understanding consultant is just as important.

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