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Pain-free life for Leeds dad after surgery to relieve chronic back pain

NEW LIFE: George Hill, now pain-free after spinal surgery, pictured with his wife Lynn and eldest granddaughter Layla.
NEW LIFE: George Hill, now pain-free after spinal surgery, pictured with his wife Lynn and eldest granddaughter Layla.
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A Leeds man’s life has been transformed following surgery to relieve years of chronic back pain.

Six years ago George Hill, an engineering manager for Johnson &Johnson, said he started to feel pain in his lower back.

“There was no injury or anything I could put my finger on it just got gradually worse over time and got to the stage where I couldn’t bend down or tie up my shoelaces,” he said.

The pain was centred in his lower back and, despite a number of scans and physiotherapy sessions, the pain in his lower back continued.

A keen fisherman and golfer, 54-year-old George found the impact of his back pain began to affect his life.

“If I tried to do any exercise it took me two or three days to recover and the pain was constant, which you do learn to live with, but it is always there, so I ended up doing less and less.

“I felt 20 years older than I actually was,” he said.

Things reached a critical point when George started waking up with pins and needles in his arms, he also started to drop things.

“It was a bit worrying, my mother suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and I thought I may be starting with it but then I started getting it in my legs and the doctors referred me to a consultant.

Because of the pins and needles, the consultant, Mr Khan, was able to diagnose the source of George’s pain as a disk prolapse in his neck, which was showing in his lower back and this was the reason no one had been able to find the cause of the problem. He recommended surgery to correct the disk and referred him to consultant orthopaedic spinal surgeon Greg Rudol at the Spire Hospital.

“Mr Rudol was fantastic,” George said.

“He started from basics and came to the same diagnosis as Mr Khan. I was nervous about getting surgery, especially as it is performed through the front of the neck, but as Mr Rudol said, it was major surgery to me but day to day for him and I decided to go ahead.”

George said it was well worth it. “From the minute the anasthesia wore off I had no lower back pain. The results have been fantastic and much quicker than I expected, I felt ten years younger.

“Today, all the symptoms and the pain have gone, this operation has given me my life back.”

BACK PAIN

Back pain is very common and will normally improve within a few weeks or months and you may not need to see a doctor.

Pain in the lower back (lumbago) is particularly common, although it can be felt anywhere along the spine from the neck down to the hips.

However if the pain starts to get severe or stops you doing your day-to-day activities it is better to seek medical advice.

Go to nhs.uk/conditions/back-pain for information.