After over 40 years of back pain, 73-year-old Leeds staff nurse Linda Knowles is able to continue her busy hospital role thanks to the state of the art spinal surgery in Leeds.  As one of the oldest members of the clinical team, the crippling pain left Linda struggling to sit, sleep, climb stairs or get out of bed. Linda is now not only continuing her busy hospital job pain-free, she also climbed Mount Etna.  

Linda Knowles of Tadcaster, works in Outpatients at Nuffield Health Leeds Hospital. Back in 1971, when Linda was in her 20’s she worked in a hospital and had an accident lifting a 20 stone patient and has had chronic back pain ever since. “A colleague and I were lifting a patient (using the Australian lift technique) and it went wrong and I ended up lifting the patient on my own and I damaged my back. It’s been painful ever since”.

Linda carried on working throughout the years despite chronic back pain. “I am okay moving around, but being still is what gave me agony” she says. “I couldn’t sit on my sofa, I had to roll out of bed in the morning on all fours, it was so very painful.  I got to the point I was considering selling my beloved house - as the stairs up to it were literally crippling me”. 

“Back in the 1970’s when I was nursing, spinal surgery wasn’t as successful as it is now, knowing that, I was quite against having surgery myself” remembers Linda.  It got to a point for Linda where it was reducing her quality of life, so she made an appointment with consultant neurosurgeon Mr Jake Timothy.

Mr Timothy at the Centre for Spinal and Neurosurgery at Nuffield Health Leeds Hospital performed spinal decompression on Linda. Linda had surgery and within six weeks is back at work enjoying her busy role once more at Nuffield Health Leeds Hospital as one of the oldest members of the clinical team. “My life has turned completely around, I can sleep and sit with ease now. My spine was so decompressed it was 0.5mm at some points in between the vertebrae. It’s meant to be about 4mm!” 

Not only is Linda back enjoying her role at the hospital, she’s also achieved some impressive physical challenges: “I climbed Mount Etna in Sicily! I tried doing this before I had surgery and couldn’t manage it. It was so rewarding being able to get to the top and enjoy the views and relish in my achievement.” 

Mr Timothy says: “Chronic back pain is a very common occurrence, in severe cases like Linda’s surgery is required. I am pleased to see her fit, well, pain-free and back working in Outpatients at Nuffield Leeds, taking care of our patients.”

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