Patient Stories 2017


Please read some of our Patient Stories below, you may find we have been able to help others suffering from similar issues and symptoms as you.



"my life nowadays is a far cry from that of unbearable pain"

Dear Mr Knight

I hope that all is well with you and yours.

I cannot believe that two years have passed since my operation at Fawkham Manor. Even worse that I have not written to thank you, appalling of me, for which my sincere apologies. A fair degree of overseas travel, combined with care of seven (soon to be eight) grandchildren between us, scattered up and down the country has conspired to scupper my good intentions. However, I believe my back is now stable and I am determined to put that right.

I am very pleased to say that the quality of my life nowadays is a far cry from that of unbearable pain, utter despair and increasing dependance on drugs prior to my operation, for which I cannot thank you enough. I am ever grateful to you for your expert advice and treatment, also indebted to Chris Boynes for his recommendation.

As for the operation itself, I found this to be truly inspirational and I was pleased to be awake for the initial part of it. Forever imprinted on my mind is the recollection of endeavouring to answer your important questions regarding pain levels without lifting my head from the cushion ring hole - so comical, even during such a time of keen accuracy. Thankfully the anaesthetist was supremely skilled at controlling the pain and more importantly any small movements didn't appear to distract you from the precision of the job in hand. Utterly heroic and applaudable!

The really great news was that the cushioning effect of the gel stix was immediate and, touch wood, to date I have had no recurrence of the excruciating bone against bone 
(with poor flattened nerve in between). Hurrah. I have since recommended you to various others who are suffering with bad back pain. As I commented following my operation, I would have no hesitation in repeating the experience (although in all honesty I would rather not have the need!).

My journey of rehabilitation for the first year or so was a matter of going from day to day, through some ups and downs, waiting to see how things settle. Around August time last year I eventually found an authentic and dedicated Pilates teacher in nearby Holkham, Wells-next-the-Sea. A professional ballet dancer in her previous life she has been teaching pilates for approx 30 years; fiery and outspoken and with a terrific sense of humour in equal measure she certainly gets results and commands the respect of her students. Following several one to one sessions at her home studio in the early days, I have since been attending her mat classes twice a week where possible and this seems to help considerably. (Being convinced that my lower vertebrae may be fused, one of her occasional nicknames for me is "Breezeblock"! - She may be right about the vertebrae. I am not wholly convinced that this stiffness will go, but with work and time it may change a little.)

Together with Pilates, I have learned to manage my back pain by carefully avoiding certain triggers; trying to keep myself active, neither standing nor sitting for long periods, considering my posture, standing at the kitchen unit with my laptop - instead of sitting at the dining table and leaning my body in towards it, my neck forwards too - sleeping on my back and sitting in an upright chair with firm cushions. I occasionally get slight sciatica for a day or two, however this is a rare occurrence which can soon be relieved with some exercises.

I have been very impressed with the care you took in explaining everything as we went along and by your meticulous attention to detail.

Thank you so much, once again.

From both Chris and myself, our very best wishes to you and yours this Christmas time.

Kind regards

Trish Valentine

Read Letter

Contact Us - See If We Can Help You Too



"pain free the next day"

I inserted a Spinejack at L3 on this lady – 3.5 years ago.

She was pain free until a week ago when she evidenced a T12 fracture. In the interim 5 days she developed early stage fracturing at T9 & T10.

Aged 98 she underwent a T12 SpineJack reconstruction and vertebroplasties at T9 & T10 and left hospital pain free the next day. Clearly she needs urgent treatment of her osteoporosis – in hand.

She has such a lovely smile and the whole team wish her a Happy Christmas.

Martin Knight

Contact Us - See If We Can Help You Too



"100% back to normal"

I am fully recovered from the operation you performed on my back a couple of years ago, and am enjoying my rowing as much as ever before.

My back was 100% back to normal, with not a trace of pain or sciatica, about six months after the operation and since then I have been enjoying a full life with no back issues at all. Of course, I now have to do lots of Pilates exercises (you probably remember that my wife Sue was pretty keen on that!) but that is a small price to pay for being fully healthy.

I do thank you again for fixing my back: there is hardly I day goes by when I do not offer up a little prayer of thanks for you excellent work.

Contact Us - See If We Can Help You Too



"now walking half a mile"

Dear Mr Knight,

I cannot thank you enough for the help and work you have done on my husband’s lower back last year. You removed a cyst and corrected a disc bulge and cleared out the foramen all of which had flattened the nerve affecting his right leg and subsequently his walking.

He is now walking half a mile with “walking poles” and works out with his neuro physiotherapist and is gradually moving over to Reforma Pilates which he actually enjoys.

More to the point he is walking relatively normally (for a stroke victim) around the house.

We are really grateful for all that you have done especially as the NHS Neuro Orthopaedic surgeon he was seeing said there was nothing wrong and he would not operate on him anyway due to the fact that he had suffered a big stroke.

It is a great pity that the NHS cannot provide such operations for those cases which would benefit from such operations.

I have recommended you to others who are also in need of a miracle.

Thank you and your team including Jenny Jago for all their help given.

Wishing you the very best.

Helen M Ball

Contact Us - See If We Can Help You Too



"25 years later!"

This is a quick note of thanks. I now work for Medtronic and was sat in a product review recently for our spine business, it made me realise how advanced you were when I had the good fortune of your intervention on my back during your time in Rochdale! I do hope you are well. I still manage to run and play tennis based on the fix that was made. Knowing how we love to hear patient stories I thought it might be nice for you to get one 25 years later!

Wishing you the very best.


Contact Us - See If We Can Help You Too



"gave me back my life"

From the age of eight I wanted to be a ballet dancer. Not a ballerina in a fluffy tutu but a dancer and not from a need to perform for others but for me to dance. It was everything to me - to fill spaces with movement. At 16 I went to full-time ballet school and got injured within a short time in an accident which involved: another dancer out of time with the music, a studio that was too small and being pushed into a grand piano. I never recovered sufficiently to dance again and over the years the injury became full-blown sciatica which at first would come and go but then would cause weeks of very distressing pain. Eventually there were no gaps in the pain and everything became a huge challenge. I could no longer work and eventually I could hardly feel my legs. The NHS conventional treatments were of no benefit whatsoever and I slowly felt like I was giving up & losing my personality as well as my mobility. Investigations had yielded no results, nothing visible. Through a relative who had a client who recommended The Spinal Foundation my husband persuaded me to give this a go. I was very apprehensive for the simple reason that I didn't want it to prove another doorway that I would go through that would yield me no relief. My husband however is a very persevering man and he finally persuaded me to see The Spinal Foundation. I was now 36 - just a few months short of 20 years from when I had had my original injury - able to shuffle for maybe 50 yards to the car & at this point my brain had turned off the message which is sent to turn on the core stability muscles. At Martin Knight's request I had a further MRI scan on which could be seen a tiny, tiny grey line. During the operation it turned out that this was an osteophyte which had been slowly growing and was now slowly cutting through my sciatic nerve. On the day I arrived at the hospital for my operation I could hardly walk even with my walking stick (I was now on my second folding walking stick as I had worn out the elastic in the first). After my endoscopic laser foraminoplasty I had a seminal moment during the night that I spent in the hospital; I woke up in the middle of the night unable to sleep and made a decision. I got out of bed and got my folding walking stick. I folded it up and put it away in my overnight bag with a firm resolve that I was never going to use it again. If I couldn't get there under my own steam I wouldn't be going. To this day 17 years later I have never used the walking stick. After 3 years post recovery I managed to get back to work part-time and my husband and I got married. The day that I managed to climb Glastonbury Tor was a real moment for me, my legs were wobbling like crazy but I got to the top and no stick in sight.

My husband and I now have an alpaca farm. I am in charge of animal husbandry and do all the alpaca injections etc. I am also the midwife! In the early days when I was a bit less aware of alpaca behaviour I got caught unawares whilst holding an alpaca's leg - he kicked out and I ended up doing a combat roll across the field. My husband laughed so hard, he said it was a sight to see but I could get up from that combat roll come back to the animal and carry on. I do still get the odd twinge of sciatica but I know what I need to do and it goes away.

My thanks to Martin Knight is immeasurable; without his passion for relieving the pain of others I would still be unable to feel my legs, feel sure that I would by now be in a wheelchair and presumably by now the osteophyte would have cut right through my sciatic nerve. Just the sheer thought of this scenario is beyond my comprehension; Martin Knight & the team at The Spinal Foundation gave me back my life.

Thank you.

A. from Devon

Contact Us - See If We Can Help You Too



"if you are suffering and feel there is no one out there"

Around Sept 11th 2001 I began to suffer with severe debilitating sciatic symptoms that left me unable to move for sometimes hours at a time the pain was to say the least excruciating and for the next 10 years I began the search for every possible procedure / treatment to address and fix my problem, I had everything from physio, osteopathy, scleresant injections, cupping, pain management injections I think I cleared the treatment cupboard out. Whilst having physio my back "went" into spasm and I was unable to leave the surgery for a good hour and a half until it subsided, This is when I was told about Dr Martin Knight at The Spinal Foundation and I was lucky enough (though I had to fight it) to get the NHS to fund cosultation and any subsequent treatment.

I saw Dr Knight in 2011 whereby he gave a concise and detailed examination of my lower back and identified the potential cause - which incidently no other consultant had noticed or considered - a tethered nerve in the L4 L5 region. Having discussed all my options he stated I was a candidate for his treatment and could offer at least 50% improvement so I signed on the dotted line as I really felt this man had something he could offer me. To cut a long story short he operated on me in November 2011 and got me mobility wise back to at least 90% improvement - no more debilitating spasms that left me drained and in severe pain. Oh did I mention that he was spot on with the diagnosis that the problem was indeed the tethered nerve he had diagnosed. This man allowed me to return to work (serving police officer) and apart from a few pain management interventions on the NHS I led a more than acceptable pain free life.

I then went through a traumatic time in my life as in December 2014 my fiance of 12 years was diagnosed with bowel cancer which had advanced to the liver. I went through hell watching her have to endure chemotherapy and despite a positive outlook in June 2015 she succumbed to the cancer passing away on 3rd December 2015. The next year was a blur coming to terms with it all finalising in the yearly anniversary in December 2016 being so run down I got a chest infection followed by Shingles.

My sciatic also began to appear more often and I made the decision to contact Dr Knight again as I felt he was the only person who I could guarantee would be able to offer if anything a more permanent diagnosis and treatment. I liaised with his secretary Jenny Jago and all dates / paperwork were completed and I had a consultation with him in March 2017 at Fawkham Manor Hospital in Kent.

Again he explained in detail what he believed the problem was and again felt he could offer me treatment as things had since 2011 moved on technology wise quite significantly. I was admitted to the hospital on 26th April 2017 and had a polymer stick inserted into my L4 and L5 - this procedure not only gave more disc space but also acts a prevention to degeneration of the discs and prevents inflammation. By all accounts Im a lucky man as my body seems to want to heal and due to the scarring caused by previous healing it had to be removed as this was causing some of the symptoms.

All I can say as I type this is apart from my lower back hurting where he went in my symptoms in my calf, hamstring hip and outside of left thigh do not seem to be presenting themselves!!!! We all know our bodies and I know it is early days but I already feel a significant inprovement. Oh I forgot - no stitches just a bit of glue to seal his entry point so a shorter recovery time - a win win situation.

I would like to point out the following observations regarding what Dr Knight offers for any person that is considering their options or is at a cross roads as to what to do regarding their suffering:

  1. Mr Knight is at the forefront of this type of surgery the benefits are that it addresses any problems with a minimilistic approach regarding trauma and recovery time. The options open to the patient and surgeon allows both to communicate and pinpoint the cause of pain. This is obvioulsy not possible under a general aneasthetic as the surgeon then has to rely on what he sees - not always the cause of the patients pain. Too late !!!!!
  2. He expalins in detail what he believes is the problem and most importantly what if any treatment he can offer. He will also point out all other medical options open to you and is at no time pressuring you to make a decision it is your decision and he will leave it for you to go away and think it over.
  3. His team have been together over 20 years and he has all the numbers / percentages of success etc and these can be made available if required - very impressive and encouraging.
  4. Finally, I have sought this man out twice and he has delivered twice. He has not paid me to advertise him incase your thinking this !!! 10 years I spent with numerous consultants in various fields and though some offered a respite no one addressed the main cause. Mr Knight not only diagnosed  (in his words "This is what I do " ) but has given me my life back. You cannot put a price on this.

He and Jenny are very approachable and caring people who want to help. I would certainly endorse and recommend them if you are suffering and feel there is no one out there to help. If Dr Knight cannot help you I dont know of anyone who could. Good luck in you search and decision.

Mr Warren Chine

Contact Us - See If We Can Help You Too



"back in the boat"

Following the operation I never again had any serious pain in my back though I did have quite a few twinges and various bits of often quite painful sciatica, though these gradually and inexorably faded to nothing over the following six to seven months. During the first couple of months I did no vigorous exercise at all other than walking and the Pilates. I then added cycling to the mix as I found that was easy on the back. After four months I started some gentle jogging, but it was only after about seven months that I felt I was ready to start rowing and sculling again. But once I did go back in the boat again I felt fine and ramped up my training quite quickly such that in next to no time I was pulling my weight in a crew again with no worries at all.

Contact Us - See If We Can Help You Too



"an absolute expert in his field"

Dear Jenny and Mr. Knight

The first operation on my Spine was in 1986 when I had a laminectomy by a surgeon and then another surgeon operated again a couple of years later but then said that there was nothing more that could be done for me.

I had a company to run and over 70 employees relying on me for their employment as I was the one who travelled to Africa, India Sudan and every country in the Middle East plus all over Europe both sourcing and selling for my manufacturing business.

On one trip to Bahrain I was hospitalised for 10 days because my back went whilst I was on the plane and the minute they let me out I continued my 6 week trip around the various Arab Countries.

Late in 1988 I heard of Mr. Martin Knight and of the wonderful and revolutionary things he was doing for people with backs like I had.  I found him true to his word and he did many procedures for me to keep me going whereas others would have left me unable to do my job or even work.  In the early 1990s Mr. Knight plated my back at L3 L4 and L5 and S1  which then gave me a strong back again.

When I hear him speak on backs you realise that he is an absolute expert in his field and by far the best Spinal Surgeon around and I have an awful lot to thank him for.  He is also a wonderful teacher and his Spinal Foundation has helped so many diagnose as well as treat

I am now 73 years of age and cannot praise Martin Knight enough for giving me back my life which I now enjoy in Spain   

I hope this is O.K. for you web page

Best regards  Eileen

Contact Us - See If We Can Help You Too



“Not Too Old” at 93 to get rid of that persistent agonising back pain”

What can you do when you are in chronic and persistent pain and the GP says he has done all he can for you? To make matters worse at 93 years old it seems most of the medical profession have given up on you as being too old, too risky and “there is nothing more that can be done”.

To say that puts you in a bad place is an understatement!

My Mother; Jean was in this place three months ago. I speak to Mum every day and for the last two years after suffering a heart attack and two falls which each broke vertebrae in her back, it was heart wrenching to hear every day of the chronic and debilitating pain she had to suffer.

I lost count of the visits to Hospital and the calls for ambulances, each one resulted in the same answer – keep taking paracetamol that is all we can do. Mum has stomach ulcers so the use of more powerful NSAIDS was out of the question.

After a lot of searching on the Internet I stumbled across the spinal foundation and some information about a minimally invasive technique for spinal surgery. It sounded ideal as I didn’t want to put Mum through a general anaesthetic at 93.

Enter our Knight in shining Armour!

We met Mr Knight in his Harley street office in late March 2017. He gave Mum a thorough examination, looked at her X rays and her MRI scan and discussed the options with us. It was a long and very thorough meeting during which he described how the operation would go and what options were open to us in detail. His humour and caring attitude were prominent throughout the meeting, when Mum asked about the level of consciousness during the operation he said that “I find it helps greatly if I retain consciousness throughout the procedure”. We felt at ease and also confident as he had conducted over 8,000 procedures over 26 years and had an improvement of 50% or more in 80% of his cases. That was good enough for us!

The operation was booked in for 4 weeks later at the end of April and I am very pleased to report that it was successful. Mum went in to Hospital on Friday and was discharged on the Sunday. The hospital; Fawkham Manor was superb, Mum couldn’t have been in better hands, the staff were very kind and the level of care was first class “fit for the Queen” Mum said. Interesting to note was the esteem with which the staff at Fawkham held Mr Knight. They all described him as unique and it seems Mum’s experience is typical of his patients. Mum had four separate procedures at various levels of her back, at one the exit passage was widened and the nerve was explored, freed from scarring and mobilised, at two others the disc was treated with the laser and at a fourth the disc was injected with a new “gel” that helps rebuild the degenerated disc. The operation lasted 4 hours and she was conscious throughout. This meant that Mr Knight could identify exactly where the root cause of the pain was before he started trimming areas with his laser to relieve pressure on the nerves.

So here we are – only day 4 post operation, however Mum says that she is already pain free – the dreadful chronic pain has gone, she has a slight dull ache from the area of the operation, but the debilitating pain has gone. She said to me that “she has been given her life back”.

Words aren’t sufficient to describe the thanks our family have to Mr Knight and his team for giving Mum a chance, for NOT giving up on someone who is 93, for putting a smile back on her face rather than the tears and the grimace of pain that we have been accustomed to over the last 2 years. We are very lucky and very grateful to have found the spinal foundation.

Philip Shadbolt OBE

Contact Us - See If We Can Help You Too



Subscribe to Patient Stories 2017