Patient Report - Helen Salt


Written by Helen Salt

March 2007

Sixteen years ago whilst I was still at school I started to get pain in my back. Over a period of months things deteriorated until I was left with tremendous pain in my lower back and in both legs. I was unable to sit for more than twenty minutes, standing wasn’t much better and all I could do to slightly ease the pain was to keep moving around. Despite the debilitating nature of my problem I finished my A-levels (achieved by walking round and lying on the floor during both lessons and the exams) and started my degree.

It was during my second year at University, after four years of being passed from one consultant to another who tried a wide variety of treatment but eventually, I felt, gave up on me, that I finally found The Spinal Foundation. Mr Knight worked with me tirelessly and used his minimally invasive techniques to identify the source of the pain and to try and ease the symptoms. Many of the therapeutic discograms, discographies, facet joint injections and disc decompressions helped for a short time but my symptoms always reappeared in full force soon afterwards. Eventually after I had completed my degree and copious amounts of physio with one of Mr Knight’s excellent associated physiotherapists it was decided, after much discussion, that Mr Knight would carry out a conventional open procedure known as a Graf ligament stabilisation or soft fusion.

Although I believe my back would be much worse without the surgery, I still have significant problems with pain and mobility. Over the last eight years I have slowly built up to working full-time as a Learning Support Teacher.

After yet more consultations and extra physio (again with a superb team of physiotherapists) I decided to try for a baby, which is why I find myself writing this article. I have always wanted a child but really feared that because of such an unusual and complicated diagnosis that this was never likely. However, my back seemed to have stabilised over the last few years and I decided it was worth a go!

The pregnancy went smoothly and it was decided that an elective caesarean at 38 weeks would be best as it was felt that a difficult delivery or a big baby could undo all the work that has been put in on my back by Mr Knight, the physios and myself.

Baby Theo James arrived safely on the 9th June 2006 weighing a healthy 7lbs 6oz, much to my absolute delight. He is completely gorgeous and well worth the wait. I wanted to tell my story in the hope that it will act as encouragement to anyone in a similar situation. It has been hard – bending over to pick him up in the morning when my back is locked solid, chasing him round and having to pick him up swiftly when he discovers something he shouldn’t have and trying to put him in and out of the car, cot and pushchair are all big strains on my back, but I wouldn’t swap it for anything. Theo is a delightful baby and certainly worth every minute and every extra ache and pain!