We are specialists in disorders of the spine and offer you the entire spectrum of conservative and surgical treatments in our Back Center in the Inselspital. Our focus is primarily on the concept of microsurgical operations that are as minimally invasive as possible. Tissue protection and the utmost level of safety are our top priorities.
What are the possible causes of back pain?
Movement miracle or faulty structure - our spine must be stable and mobile at the same time. Particularly with age, more people suffer from back pain. Occasional complaints in the back, neck or shoulder are usually non-specific and harmless. Most back pain (about 85%) is "harmless and non-specific" despite the discomfort and subsides after days to weeks. However, if the pain is severe or increasing in intensity, it can also be symptoms of a slipped disc, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis or other conditions, especially if the pain is in the arms or legs.
The treatment of sporadic back pain without a diagnosis requiring surgery is standardized and usually successful.
Intervertebral discs act as “shock absorbers” between vertebrae and can become brittle in their fibrous covering due to aging, wear or predisposition. A part of the intervertebral disc can detach and push outwards through the fibrous ring. Depending on the location of this herniated disc, different nerves can be pinched and damaged. Surgery is rarely necessary; often the disc is reduced in size by the body or even resorbed completely.
The standard treatment for a herniated disc is conservative therapy for up to 12 weeks. We operate more promptly in case of severe pain or paralysis, or even as an emergency surgery in case of bladder and rectal disorders. The surgical intervention is always performed as small as possible and by an experienced microsurgeon. 90% of our patients experience a long-term improvement.
Spinal stenosis or spinal canal stenosis is the most frequent cause for lumbar spine surgery in elderly people. It becomes necessary when wear and degeneration have caused a thickening of ligaments and joints, narrowing the spinal canal and compressing the nerves there. The operation is performed microsurgically and gently creates more space for the spinal nerves. It is the "gold standard", demonstrably better than conservative therapy and a focus of our clinic. More than 80% of our patients experience a long-term improvement after surgery. Serious complications are rare (< 2%) despite often high age. The improvement in pain and walking distance is often already evident on the first day after surgery. No fusion is necessary in 9 out of 10 patients.
Spondylolisthesis is an instability of the spine in which the upper vertebra shifts forward over the underlying vertebra. Degenerative changes, especially in the elderly, are the most common cause. Additional instability of both vertebrae leads to load-dependent back pain, while the spinal canal stenosis is responsible for the pain radiating into the legs.
In the Back Center of the Inselspital, the spine specialists of neurosurgery, orthopedics, physiotherapy, rheumatology and pain therapy organize the step-by-step and coordinated treatment of our patients. Each specialty takes over exactly that part of the treatment in which the experts have specialized. Our philosophy is: as gentle as possible, as invasive as necessary.