Neck & Back

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Our neck and spine is made up of small bones called vertebrae that extends from the skull to the tailbone. It helps us to hold up our head and upper bodies. Our spine gives us the support to stand up straight and allows to be flexible in bending and twisting.

Our spine is made up of 4 segments:
SPINAL CURVE

-Cervical spine
-Thoracic spine
-Lumbar spine
-Sacrum & Coccyx

There are discs in between our vertebrae to absorb shock between the bones. The cervical spine consists of 7 small verterbraes, thoracic spine has 12 verterbraes and our lumbar has 5 large verterbraes that helps to carry most of our body weight.
Our spine also consists of muscles and ligaments that provides support and stability for our spine and upper body, helping to keep our spine in position.

Many people experience neck pain or stiffness occasionally. In many cases, it is due to poor posture or overuse. Sometimes, neck pain can be caused by an injury from a fall, playing contact sports, uncomfortable positioning of the neck while sleeping on a pillow or even after an accident causing whiplash.

Neck-stress-pictures-collage

Symptoms of neck pain:

            • Sharp shooting pain
            • Difficulty swallowing
            • Dizziness/ Light headedness
            • Pulsations
            • Numbness and tingling sensation

Neck pain can also be associated with headache, shoulder pain or arm numbness. These can be caused by the nerves being pinched in the neck. Depending on the situation, sometimes neck pain can be accompanied by lower back pain.

Treatment

            • Apply ice/heat therapy
            • Physiotherapy exercises
            • Anti- inflammatory medications
            • Shockwave therapy

There are many causes of low back pain. It can occur after a specific movement such as lifting heavy loads or bending. Getting older also plays a role in back condition. As we age, our spine ages as well causing degenerative changes. These changes can be prone to back pain, especially if we over exert our activities.

Most low back pain can be acute and lasts for a few days to a few weeks. The common cause will be muscle soreness from over-activity which occurs when the muscles and ligaments are over stretched or injured. Chronic back pain may persist up to 3 months or more.

Symptoms 

            • Weakness, numbess or tingling sensation in one or both legs
            • Stiffness in lower back
            • Pain that worsens after prolonged standing or sitting
            • Muscle tightness and spasms
            • Difficulty standing up straight
            • Burning pain that moves from the lower back to the back of the thighs

COMMON SPINE CONDITIONS:

Scoliosis

Abnormal curve of the spine that may develop in children during their teenage years.  This spinal deformity may cause back pain if pressure on the nerves is involved.

Muscle Sprain/Strain

Sprains are caused by overstretching or ligament tear, strains are tears in muscles or tendons. Both may also trigger spasms in back muscles, which can also be painful.

Slipped Disc

This occurs when the intervertebral  disk is very worn out or injured, the nucleus (jelly-like center that gives the disk flexibility and strength) may squeeze all the way through. When the slipped disk bulges out toward the spinal canal, it puts pressure on the sensitive spinal nerves, causing pain.

Tailbone Pain (Coccydynia)

 Inflammation of the tailbone which is located deep between the buttocks above the anus. This causes pain and tenderness at the tip of the tailbone between the buttocks. Prolonged sitting often worsens tailbone pain.

Sciatica 

This is caused by compression of the sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in our body. It begins from nerve roots in the spinal cord in the lower back and extends through the buttock area to send nerve endings down the lower limb. This compression of the nerve can causes shock-like pain.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis occurs when the space around the spinal cord narrows and puts pressure on the cord and spinal nerves. This can cause pain and numbness and over time, may lead to leg weakness and sensory loss

Spondylolisthesis

 When the vertebrae moves more than they should, and one vertebra can slide forward on top of another. If too much of slippage occurs, the bones may begin to press on the spinal nerves.

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Treatments

Medications – Non steroidal inflammatory drugs can help to reduce the pain and swelling.

            • Physiotherapy – Exercises such as stretching, helps to restore motion and strength to your lower back. It also helps to relieve pain.
            • Back brace – Wearing a corset- type brace wrapped around the back and stomach will ensure that you will feel more comfortable and stable.
            • Shockwave Therapy
            • Surgerical Interventions – If all non-surgical methods fail, surgery for low back pain may be considered. However, it is advised to seek Dr Siow’s medical advice to pinpoint the source of your pain.

Prevention

Although it is impossible to prevent low back pain, there are some things we can do to lessen the impact of low back pain:

1. Exercises
– Swimming, aerobic exercises helps to keep the muscles in your back strong and flexible. Always stretch 30 mins before and after any activity.

2. Proper Posture
– Having a good posture is very important! Try not to slouch while standing or sitting. Ensure your working environment surfaces are at a comfortable height. Sit in a chair with a good lumbar support with proper position and height.  During prolonged periods of sitting, try to switch positions often.

3. Weight
– Maintain a healthy weight. This helps to reduce added stress on your lower back.

4. Quit smoking
– Smoking reduces blood flow to the lower spine thus causing our spine to age faster than usual. It also increases the risk of osteoporosis.

Do seek advice from Dr Siow to provide an appropriate treatment plan for you.

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Our doctor provide consultation, treatment and surgery for sports injuries of the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee and ankle.

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