Conditions

Spine Pain

A healthy spine is integral to an active and fulfilling life. It supports the body’s structure, allows for flexibility and movement, and houses the central nervous pathways that control function and sensation throughout the body. 

Spine pain, as a result, can significantly diminish your quality of life by restricting movement, causing discomfort, and affecting your overall health and well-being. 

For many, understanding getting treatment for spine pain is not just a matter of relief but of reclaiming their lives.

Understanding spine pain

Spine pain involves discomfort anywhere in the spine or back, from the neck to the lower back. The spine’s complexity, with its interconnected vertebrae, discs, nerves, muscles, and ligaments, means that the source of pain can vary widely. 

The pain can be sharp, dull or radiating, and differ in intensity and duration.

Symptoms of spine pain

The symptoms associated with spine pain can include:

  • Persistent ache or stiffness along the spine from the bottom of the neck to the tailbone.
  • A sharp, localised pain in the neck, upper back, or lower back, that worsens after heavy lifting or engaging in strenuous activity.
  • Aching in the middle or lower back, especially after sitting or standing for long periods.
  • Pain extends from the lower back to the buttocks, thighs, calves, and toes.
  • The inability of a patient to stand straight without pain or muscle spasms in the lower back.

Causes of spine pain

The causes of spine pain are diverse, including:

  • Mechanical issues and imbalances include disc degeneration, herniated or ruptured discs, or sciatica.
  • Trauma from falls, accidents, or sudden impacts.
  • Medical conditions include scoliosis, arthritis, osteoporosis, and spine infections.
  • Lifestyle factors include poor posture, obesity, and lack of regular exercise.
  • Age-related changes in spinal structure and function.

When to seek medical attention

Immediate medical attention should be sought if spine pain is accompanied by symptoms like:

  • Severe pain that does not get better with rest.
  • Pain following a high-impact accident, such as a car collision or a fall.
  • Numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arms or legs.
  • Problems with bladder or bowel control.
  • Unexplained weight loss or fever.

Diagnosing spine pain

Diagnosing spine pain is critical in determining the most effective treatment plan for relief and recovery. Doctors use a combination of methods to pinpoint the underlying cause of spine pain, ensuring that the treatment addresses the root of the problem rather than just alleviating symptoms.

Medical history evaluation and physical examination

The diagnostic process begins by thoroughly evaluating a patient’s medical history, and a physical examination. During the review, the doctor will ask about the pain’s onset, duration, and nature. 

The physical examination assesses the patient’s posture, physical condition, and mobility. The doctor will look for areas of tenderness, note the spine’s alignment, and check for any signs of abnormal movement.

Imaging tests

Imaging tests are done to visualise the internal structures of the spine. These tests are crucial for diagnosing conditions that are not apparent through physical examination alone.

  • X-rays: X-rays show the alignment of the bones and detect abnormalities such as fractures, tumours, or degenerative changes in the spine.
  • MRI Scans: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) provides a detailed image of the spine’s soft tissues, including discs, muscles, and nerves. 
  • CT Scans: Computed Tomography (CT) scans offer a more detailed view of the spine’s bone structures than X-rays. 

Electromyography (EMG)

Electromyography (EMG) can help pinpoint the source of muscle weakness, numbness, or abnormal sensations. EMG results can diagnose nerve compression or damage resulting from herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or nerve root disorders.

The combination of procedures forms a comprehensive approach to diagnosing spine pain. With an accurate diagnosis in hand, patients and their doctors can work together to alleviate pain and improve spine health.

Treatments for spine pain

Non-surgical

  • Physical therapy to regain strength in muscles and improve posture.
  • Medications such as anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants.
  • Injections like epidural steroid injections for inflammation reduction.

Minimally invasive

  • Radiofrequency neurotomy to reduce nerve tissue pain signals.
  • Lumbar decompression to treat spinal stenosis.

Surgical

Surgery will be considered when other treatments have failed and may include:

  • Discectomy for herniated disc.
  • Spinal fusion for stability.
  • Laminectomy to relieve pressure on spinal nerves.

Pain specialist

Choosing a pain specialist to treat spine pain is an important decision that can significantly influence your treatment’s effectiveness and overall recovery experience. 

Pain specialists have extensive training in the spine’s anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology. 

Unlike general practitioners, these specialists undergo additional years of medical training focused exclusively on spine disorders, including orthopaedic or neurosurgical training, followed by a fellowship in spine care. This specialised expertise enables them to diagnose complex spine issues accurately and recommend the most appropriate treatments.

Pain specialists are also trained to perform non-surgical and surgical procedures, including minimally invasive surgeries, which often result in quicker recoveries and less pain than traditional surgery. Patients benefit from modern spinal care, including new pharmaceuticals, biological therapies, and neurostimulation techniques.

Spine Pain Treatment in Singapore

Spine pain is a complex and multifaceted condition affecting millions worldwide, impacting their quality of life. Consulting with pain specialists can help individuals suffering from spine-related issues benefit from a complete range of treatment options. 

The Pain Specialist provides tailored treatment plans, combining expertise with technology to offer patients quality care. We are committed to providing quality care and offer a multidisciplinary approach to help you recover from spine pain.

Book a consultation to learn more about spine pain treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Rest, ice and heat therapy, over-the-counter pain relievers, and gentle exercises can often provide relief.

Muscle pain is often localised and associated with specific movements, while spinal pain may radiate and be associated with symptoms like tingling or numbness.

Persistent or worsening pain, neurological symptoms, and impacts on daily activities are signs that professional assessment is needed.

Many cases of spine pain improve with appropriate treatment, but outcomes depend on the underlying cause.