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If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your spine, whether in your back or neck, or shoulders, your GP might recommend a visit to a Blackrock Health spinal clinic.  This is especially true if there is any concern that your symptoms relate to nerve damage - suggested by symptoms such as tingling and weakness in your arms or legs. You may also be referred to our specialist spinal clinics if you have an underlying medical history that could affect your spinal health. This could include scoliosis or osteoporosis, and even degenerative joint diseases like arthritis. There are several other reasons why you may need the help of our spinal specialists, including severe trauma and sports injuries. Patients with severe or complex back pain often need a combination of surgical and physiotherapy treatment. Surgery may be required to deal with bony disorders such as scoliosis, or compression disorders such as herniated discs.

Blackrock Health has a long-standing reputation for clinical excellence in spinal medicine. With a team of highly skilled and experienced spinal consultants, we offer a range of surgical and non-surgical options. We use the latest techniques and technologies to provide accurate diagnoses and effective treatment. You can expect personalised care from a dedicated team of professionals who are committed to improving your quality of life.  Our experts work together to try and diagnose, treat or manage acute and chronic conditions that affect the back and spine. We provide specialised care from highly qualified orthopaedic surgeons, neurosurgeons and physiotherapists. Spinal surgery can be undertaken by either orthopaedic or neurosurgeons, who have different training and different areas of expertise. All our team have particular expertise in treating issues of the spine. We aim to identify the underlying causes of your back pain by performing tests and exams - then recommending tailored treatments.

Our spinal procedures include:

  • lower back surgery
  • spinal fusion using rods and screws
  • microdiscectomy (for a prolapsed disc)
  • laminectomy or nerve root decompression (to ease pressure on the spinal cord and nerves)
  • anterior cervical decompression and fusion (surgery to discs in the neck)
  • vertebroplasty (to relieve fracture pain)

An Experienced and Expert Team

Spinal Services in Blackrock Health include a team of surgeons with decades of accumulated experience. This experience includes fellowships in internationally recognised Centres of Excellence - worldwide. Our team has been leading progress towards minimally invasive spinal procedures in Ireland. When appropriate, these offer an alternative to open surgery and offer many advantages. These include:

  • Shorter operating time,
  • Less tissue damage,
  • Earlier recovery,
  • More rapid bone healing, and
  • Fewer complications.

Minimally invasive procedures are available for the treatment of a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Herniated discs,
  • Spinal stenosis,
  • Tumours 

The approach can apply to a wide range of procedures including spinal fixation, fusion and fractures.

Spinal Deformity Surgery

Spinal deformities, such as scoliosis, can be treated with several different surgical options. These include vertebral body distraction, spine fusion, and connective devices - like rods and screws. Depending on the severity of the curvature, these treatments may be recommended for pain relief or to improve posture. With vertebral body distraction, space is created between two adjacent vertebrae in order to realign the spine. Fusion is a permanent method that joins two or more parts of the spine together to create stability and prevent further movement. Lastly, various rods and screws can be installed to hold bones in new positions after corrective surgery. Each patient's care plan will depend upon several factors. We'll thoroughly discuss your treatment option before making any decisions.

Blackrock Health has established one of the largest spinal surgery centres in Ireland. Blackrock Clinic has a particular expertise in scoliosis spinal deformity with a caseload second only to Our Lady’s Hospital, Crumlin. Our team in Blackrock Clinic has performed more than 150 complicated spinal deformity surgeries in the last seven years. This is in addition to its pioneering work with minimally invasive and major open-surgery procedures. Hermitage Clinic and Galway Clinic also have considerable orthopaedic and neurosurgery expertise - including spinal surgery.

Advanced Diagnostics

Patients who attend Blackrock Health can rely on the most advanced diagnostic testing available. You can access our extensive range of tests and scans with a referral from your GP or consultant. Combined with the expertise of our spinal teams, you can be confident of the correct diagnosis and the most suitable care path. Here is a selection of the diagnostic and imaging tools available to our spinal teams across our three hospitals:


An X-ray can be used to diagnose any structural changes in the tissues and bones in the spine. They are also the most useful way of diagnosing arthritis.


Ultrasound can be used to evaluate soft tissue’s surface structure. It is well-suited for diagnosing musculoskeletal issues in the back. This includes tendinopathy, cysts, tendonitis and hematoma. It can also help diagnose muscle tears, muscle strain and ruptured or herniated discs.

MRI Scan

An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan is a diagnostic tool that uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create detailed images. We use this scan when diagnosing and managing a wide range of spinal ailments. These include herniated discs, nerve compression, arthritis and degenerative disc disease. An MRI can also be used to measure the size and shape of the spine to assess alignment, curvature or potential abnormalities.

CT Scan

A CT scan (computed tomography) is an imaging technique used in medicine to create detailed, cross-sectional images of the body. It uses x-rays to take detailed images of different layers inside the human body. The CT machine is a doughnut shaped disc which rotates around the patient while taking a series of x-ray images at specific points along its path. These are then combined together using computer software to create a 3D model of the target area.

A CT scan is a valuable imaging tool for diagnosing back issues in a spinal clinic. It provides the necessary detail to detect the underlying pathology of the individual's spine. It can help diagnose bulging discs, fractures, stenosis or degenerative changes. It can also provide guidance when it comes to procedures like epidural nerve blocks or discogram studies.


A Myelogram is a type of imaging test that is used to diagnose issues involving the spinal cord and spine. It involves an injection of a contrast material into the area around your spinal cord. This then allows for a clearer view of any abnormalities or injuries in your spine when X-rays or CT scans can’t identify them.  During this image test, a doctor or technician will take several pictures from different angles. This allows them look for issues such as herniated discs, fractured vertebrae, tumours, blood clots, infection and more. 

Physiotherapy & Spines

Our consultants work with other clinical specialists to offer spinal patients multi-disciplinary care. Surgery will not usually be the first option in a treatment plan for most patients. Physiotherapy is usually an essential part of treatment in a patient who has a spinal problem. It can relieve or manage pain, improve flexibility, and offer rehabilitation after surgery. Many options are available within our physiotherapy back clinics in Blackrock Health. This includes treatments for all spinal pain, including:

  • neck (cervical),
  • upper back (thoracic), and
  • low back pain (lumbar) pain

Your physio treatment will aim to manage or resolve symptoms - such as relieving or reducing pain and improving movement. They can also aim to help tissue flexibility, to restore spinal alignment and to improve postural stability and strength. A long-term commitment between you and your physio can also minimise the risk of further injury.

Most people can expect to experience some neck pain in their lifetime. 99% of neck pain is not serious and for the majority of people it should not interfere with normal activities. However, if you have suffered serious injury or the pain is severe or going down the arm you should seek advice from a health professional. Common types of neck pain include soft tissue strain due to an accident or injury - or non-specific neck pain and general headaches.

Low back pain can arise from injury or degenerative (wear-and-tear) changes to structures in the back - such as muscle, ligament, disc, nerve and bone. These injuries can happen even with a relatively simple movement - such as bending forward or twisting through the spine.

However, lower back pain can also occur due to more complex and forceful movements that impact your lower spine. If you have low back pain, you should consult a chartered physiotherapist. They can give you an appropriate assessment, diagnosis and treatment of your lower back pain.

Initially the Blackrock Health physio team can help to diagnose the problem and determine its severity. This may need the use of imaging techniques such as x-ray, CT scan or MRI. From this information, your physio should then be able to determine an appropriate treatment plan. We offer a range of physio-led solutions for back pain across Blackrock Health - from consultations through to group classes. In some of our hospitals this includes a specialist triage clinic for back pain.

Back Triage Clinic

At the Blackrock Clinic, we offer a back triage facility, which is available by GP referral and offers rapid access to a specialised team. The clinic aims to identify and differentiate between simple backache, nerve root pain, and more serious causes. This triage clinic also aims to do this very early on in your symptoms - to ensure effective and efficient treatment. We aim to quickly identify patients with serious spinal and neurological issues. This allows us to recommend appropriate medical or surgical interventions with less delay. Our triage clinic offers prompt referrals to orthopaedic surgeons or neurosurgeons when needed.

How do I get this?

You will need a referral letter from your GP or consultant before you make an appointment.

Is this insured?

Not all services are covered by health insurance. To find out if you're covered, please check your health insurance before your visit. You can do this on our health insurance cover check page, or by contacting your health insurer. 

How do I pay?

If you do not have health insurance or your health plan does not cover the full cost, you will need to pay the balance due before your treatment or procedure. You may be able to claim back some fees on your insurance. To pay an excess not covered by your insurance or any other inpatient fees, please visit our payment page. If you have any queries about paying for your care, please contact the finance team in your hospital.

Available at:
  • Blackrock Clinic
  • Galway Clinic
  • Hermitage Clinic

Blackrock Clinic

Rock Road, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, A94E4X7
Spinal Treatments & Procedures

Galway Clinic

Doughiska Galway, Galway H91HHT0
Spinal Treatments & Procedures

Hermitage Clinic

Old Lucan Road, Dublin, D20 W722
Spinal Treatments & Procedures