Back and neck pain

Back and neck pain is unfortunately very common. But, in most cases, the pain has no specific or serious cause and will usually get better on its own over time.

Causes of pain

Most back and neck pain is the result of bad posture, sleeping awkwardly, tension or following a minor injury such as a sprain or strain. Back pain can also be caused by certain medical conditions such as a slipped disc, sciatica, arthritis or a trapped nerve but in these cases people will tend to experience additional symptoms such as numbness, weakness or a tingling sensation.


You may need to see a doctor or other healthcare professional if:

• the pain doesn’t start to improve within a few weeks

• the pain is interfering with your day-to-day activities

• the pain is very severe or is getting worse over time

The most common investigation for neck or back pain is an MRI scan. Standard X-ray and/or CT scans of the spine may also be recommended to aid diagnosis.

Treatment options

Exercise – specific exercises to help strengthen your muscles and improve your posture may be given.

Physiotherapy – manipulation or massage treatment by a chiropractor, osteopath or physiotherapy may help.

Pain management – anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxant and other painkilling medication may be prescribed to help relieve non-specific back or neck pain.

Spinal injections – can help to alleviate neck and lower back pain. These injections help to reduce any inflammation in the nerves and facet joints and the effects can last for a few weeks up to a year.

Surgery – surgical treatment is generally only considered for back pain caused by a medical condition and when non-surgical treatments have failed to help alleviate the pain. The type of surgery will depend upon the specific condition, for example, decompression surgery is performed to relieve pain caused by nerve root pinching and the most common operation for disc problems is known as a microdiscectomy.

Specialist treatment

Consultant Neurosurgeon, Mr Shafqat Bukhari, specialises in treating painful conditions including back pain, neck pain, sciatica, pinched nerves and disc problems. As a neurosurgeon he is focused on the body’s entire nervous system to help determine the best overall treatment plan and outcomes for individual patients. Mr Bukhari offers a complete treatment pathway for his patients from diagnosis to non-surgical care as well as complex spinal surgery if needed.