Mike's Gym Story


How I came to be a patient of the Spinal Foundation starts in August, 2007. This was the day that changed my life, when I attended my local gym and threw a tennis ball!! A trivial thing like that can be totally life changing. Having thrown the ball, I heard a sickening tearing in my neck with instant pain down both arms and down to my feet. These sensations eased over the next few minutes, enough to drive home and get my partner to drive me to the local A and E Department. The hospital doctor gave me pain killers and referred me to my GP. My GP could not have been more concerned and immediately referred me to another hospital with spinal specialists who saw me two weeks later.

As my symptoms had improved they saw fit to deny me an MRI Scan on my neck and said the problem would resolve by itself, but if things changed then to contact them again. Eight months later, with very worrying symptoms, I did indeed contact them, it took six weeks to secure an appointment, then four weeks to get an MRI Scan. This is the point at which they became interested in my condition (large cervical disc herniation compressing the spinal cord). They wanted me to undergo open surgery (anterior cervical decompression with a fusion) within two weeks. This was a frightening prospect as my employment within the healthcare service meant that I am quite knowledgeable of anatomy and physiology and aware of the possible consequences of this procedure.

I returned home to discuss this with my partner and then researched other avenues of treatment via the internet (God bless whoever invented this!!). This took me all over the world, mainly in the USA where I contacted a few clinics and sent them copies of my MRI Scan. They all replied with promises that they could help but these sites were rather too far, so we decided to search closer to home. There are many surgeons in the USA who practice minimally invasive techniques of surgery on the spine but only one appeared to be in the UK a Mr. Martin Knight of the Spinal Foundation. On contacting them they were very helpful and advised me that I only needed a letter of referral from my GP to get and appointment. Mr. Knight is a top class surgeon, although I did not know that at the time of my first consultation.

The appointment was arranged by Jenny Jago, a very polite and helpful lady at the Spinal Foundation, who also arranged x-rays to be conducted before my consultation. I was ushered into to see Mr. Knight who appeared to be a jovial and sincere person who wants to do his best for his patients. He studied my x-rays and scan for what seemed like an age, occasionally making a comment. He then said he could sort it out by minimally invasive techniques without the need for a fusion. He went on to carry out motor and sensory tests and then explained his approach to the procedure with the help of a model of a cervical spine, whilst reassuring me about previous operations he had performed and explaining the outcomes.

He discussed the possible complications and the related statistical figures, this was much more than I had from my consultant at my local hospital. My first consultation lasted approximately one and a half hours. I made the decision to go ahead with the operation within one week and the following week I underwent Endoscopic Cervical Decompression and Foraminoplasty, one year after my injury without any apparent complications. The operation lasted three hours and I was back in my room half an hour later fully alert.

Mr. Knight came to see me and explained what he had done during the procedure and to make sure that I was able to get out of bed. I remained in hospital overnight, had a conversation with Mr. Knight the next morning and was discharged later that day.

My operation was successful. I have none of the worrying symptoms which I suffered prior to my intervention. I now live my life with a different outlook and do not let small things get me down or annoy me. I got married two months after the operation to my Partner of 15 years. I have left my previous job and returned to University to train for a surgical environment, so you see finding Mr. Knight has completely turned my life around for the better.

I am 100% sure that this is exactly the way Mr. Knight operates and all his patients and I would recommend anyone with a spinal problem to consider his approach first.

May I pass on my thanks to all at the Spinal Foundation, Mr. Knight, Jenny Jago and Christine Haygarth and all the team at the BMI hospital in Huddersfield.