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The Risks of Neglecting Spine Pain

Spine pain is a pervasive issue that affects many in Singapore, disrupting their lives and diminishing their quality of life. Despite its prevalence and impact, many individuals suffering from spine pain are reluctant to seek treatment, often hoping that the discomfort will resolve on its own. 

In this article, we will shed light on the potential dangers of neglecting spine pain, the importance of early intervention, and how to manage and alleviate this common ailment.

Will my spine pain go away on its own?

Some patients experiencing spine pain wonder if the discomfort will disappear over time. In some cases, minor spine pain caused by temporary muscle strain or minor injuries may resolve without medical intervention. Rest, over-the-counter pain medications, and avoiding strenuous activities can help alleviate symptoms. However, this is not always the case for everyone.

Chronic spine pain or pain resulting from worse conditions such as degenerative disc disease typically does not improve on its own. Without proper treatment, these issues can persist or even deteriorate, leading to increased pain and disability.

Why spine pain may worsen without treatment

Muscle stiffness and weakness

Chronic spine pain often leads to reduced physical activity as patients attempt to avoid movements that trigger discomfort. This inactivity can cause muscles to become stiff and weak over time. Weak muscles provide less support to the spine, exacerbating the pain and making it harder to perform daily tasks.

Compensation patterns

Spine pain sufferers tend to alter their posture and movement patterns to avoid aggravating the pain. These compensatory behaviours can strain other body parts, adding to other musculoskeletal issues. For example, limping to avoid back pain might cause knee or hip problems, creating a vicious cycle of pain and compensation.

Worsening of underlying conditions

Many spine pain conditions, such as herniated discs or spinal stenosis, can worsen if left untreated. What might start as mild discomfort can progress to severe pain, numbness, and even loss of function. Ignoring these conditions increases the risk of permanent nerve damage, which can lead to long-term disability.

Importance of early intervention

Early intervention is crucial in managing spine pain effectively. Addressing the issue promptly can prevent further complications and improve outcomes. Here are some reasons why seeking early treatment is essential:

Preventing chronic pain

Acute spine pain can become chronic if not treated early. Chronic pain is more challenging to manage and often requires more intensive treatment. By addressing the pain early, you can reduce the risk of it becoming a long-term condition.

Maintaining mobility and function

Early treatment helps maintain mobility and the ability to perform daily activities. Physical therapy, for instance, can strengthen muscles and improve flexibility, ensuring the spine remains well-supported and functional.

Reducing the need for surgery

Prompt treatment with non-surgical methods can effectively manage many spine conditions, reducing the likelihood of requiring more invasive surgeries later.

Treatment for spine pain

Non-surgical treatments

Physical therapy

Physical therapy is a key element in spine pain management. Therapists use exercises and manual techniques to strengthen muscles, improve flexibility, and reduce pain. A customised physical therapy program can help you regain mobility and function while minimising the risk of future injuries.

Medications

Over-the-counter pain medication can help relieve mild to moderate spine pain. Sometimes, prescription medications such as muscle relaxants or corticosteroids may be necessary to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.

Minimally invasive spine surgery

For patients who do not respond to conservative treatments, minimally invasive spine surgery may be considered before more invasive methods. These procedures use small incisions and specialised instruments to address spine issues with less tissue damage and quicker recovery than traditional surgery. Common minimally invasive procedures in Singapore include:

Minimally invasive endoscopic surgery

Minimally invasive endoscopic surgery employs a tiny camera (endoscope) inserted through small incisions to provide a clear view of the spine on a monitor. This allows the surgeon to precisely remove or repair the damaged tissue with minimal disruption to surrounding muscles and tissues.

Minimally invasive spinal fusion

Spinal fusion is done to join two or more vertebrae to eliminate painful movement. Minimally invasive spinal fusion uses smaller incisions and sophisticated techniques to reduce recovery time and improve outcomes.

Spine pain treatment in Singapore

Neglecting spine pain can lead to severe consequences, including chronic pain, reduced mobility, and worsening of underlying conditions. Early intervention and treatment are crucial to managing spine pain effectively.

If you are experiencing spine pain, it is essential to determine the cause and explore treatment options with a qualified spine specialist in Singapore. At Achieve Spine & Orthopaedic Centre, our experts will conduct a thorough evaluation, including medical history, physical examination, and imaging studies, to diagnose the underlying issue accurately.

We understand how spine pain can impact your life. Dr Wu, an experienced spine specialist, is dedicated to providing treatment tailored to your needs. Book an appointment today.

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