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ROH Patient Stories – Meet Neil

Neil Cooper came to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital following a severe back injury which left him in significant pain. Here’s his story.


“When I had the injury my quality of life wasn't great. I was fortunate that I had an office job so didn't need to get around too much, but as far as anything else was concerned I couldn't really do much and there was a lot of muscle wastage in my left leg. I had to give myself extra time to get everywhere because I couldn't walk very well and was reliant on a cocktail of pain killers to get me through the day.

I had a lumbar epidural and physiotherapy at ROH and found all of the staff to be helpful and understanding of my injury. ROH set me on the path I am on now - while I still feel the effects of the injury as I have back and leg pain every day, I now manage it through exercise instead of tablets.

At the beginning of the injury I would have never even contemplated any form of exercise, let alone some of the things I can do now, as it was hard just to walk a mile to work or to pick up a saucepan to cook my food. These days I’m proud to have competed the Spartan Beast and several half marathons, but only because of years of hard work and commitment to my physiotherapy exercises and conditioning to get stronger.

I firmly believe the human body is a great tool if used correctly.”


Neil has written a book on his experience from broken back to Spartan Beast: Be Stronger than your Excuses. His book will be available from January 2024. Follow Neil on his ever-evolving fitness journey on Instagram @justabloke2023