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  • Mount Elizabeth

Back & Spine Health

  • Common Back & Spine Conditions

    young athlete with back pain

    The spine supports the body structure and contains nerves that transmit and receive signals from the brain. Injury to the spinal area may result in severe health consequences or even paralysis. It is important to be aware of the warning signs to avoid any long-term health complications.

    Spinal injury in its early stages may present with subtle symptoms which could worsen over time. Learn more about the common symptoms and conditions that affect the back and spine, as well as the specialty treatments available at Mount Elizabeth Hospitals.

    Symptom Checker: What Condition Do You Have?

    Use our symptom checker to find out what common condition may be causing your symptoms.
    Click on the symptoms you are experiencing.

    matching conditions

    Slipped Disc

    back and spine conditions

    A slipped disc is when a cartilage disc in the spine is damaged and pressing on the nerves. This condition is also known as a ‘herniated’, ‘ruptured’ or ‘prolapsed’ disc. A slipped disc is usually caused by degeneration of disc elasticity, excessive strain from physical activities, or injury from incorrect lifting (lifting with your back instead of your knees).

    Symptoms can be felt in the neck, back and limbs, and include difficulty controlling bowel movements and urination, numbness in the genitals and anus, pain associated with lower limb movement, pain or tingling/numbness in the back, buttock or legs.

    If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your orthopaedic specialist. Your doctor will recommend treatment options that best suit your lifestyle needs. Find out more about the  treatment options and  sports rehabilitation services available.

    Spondylosis

    back pain woman

    Spondylosis is a degenerative condition which usually involves the discs, ligaments and joints of the spine. Spondylosis results in the spinal discs losing their cushioning effect and the weakening of ligaments, which then causes small stress fractures within the vertebrae that leads to bone slippage (spondylolisthesis). Causes of spondylosis include repetitive stresses to the spine, wear and tear due to age, and trauma.

    Common symptoms include lower back pain, pain radiating down the legs, difficulty maintaining an upright posture, and tingling/numbness in the arms or legs.

    If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your orthopaedic specialist. Your doctor will recommend treatment options that best suit your lifestyle needs. Find out more about the treatment options and sports rehabilitation services available.

    Sciatica

    man with pain in lower back and thigh

    The sciatic nerve, which extends from the back of the pelvis down the back of the thigh, is the largest nerve in the body. The sciatic nerve controls the muscles in the back of the lower leg and knee, and provides sensation to the back of the thigh, the lower leg and the sole of the foot. Sciatica is usually caused by a herniated or slipped disc in the spine resulting in compression of the spinal nerve. Less common causes include a spinal injury or infection, growth within the spine (tumour) or spinal stenosis (narrowing of the nerve passages in spine).

    Common symptoms of sciatica include pain that extends down one leg, lower back pain that radiates down the buttock and back of one thigh, weakness or tingling/numbness.

    If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your orthopaedic specialist. Your doctor will recommend treatment options that best suit your lifestyle needs. Find out more about the treatment options and sports rehabilitation services available.

    Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

    spinal stenosis

    Spinal stenosis occurs when the space around the spinal cord narrows, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots. It usually results from the normal ageing process. Arthritis (degeneration of a joint) is the most common cause of spinal stenosis.

    Symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis include back pain, burning pain in the buttocks or legs, numbness and tingling in the buttocks or legs, reduced pain when leaning forward and weakness in the legs.

    If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your orthopaedic specialist. Your doctor will recommend treatment options that best suit your lifestyle needs. Find out more about the treatment options and sports rehabilitation services available.

    Degenerative Disc Disease

    degenerative spine conditions

    As we age, our spinal discs break down, or degenerate, which may result in degenerative disc disease. Spinal discs are soft, compressible discs separating the interlocking bones (vertebrae) that make up the spine, acting as shock absorbers for the spine while providing flexibility. Age-related changes may cause loss of fluid in the discs, or tiny tears or cracks in the outer layer of the disc.

    Degenerative disc disease may occur throughout the spine area, but commonly affects the discs located at the lower back and neck areas, resulting in pain.

    Degenerative disc disease, if left untreated, may lead to conditions such as osteoarthritis, slipped disc, or spinal stenosis. Symptoms include numbness or tingling at the arm or leg area, back or neck pain, limitation in activities due to pain (which often gets worse with movements such as reaching up or bending over), and twisting.

    To diagnose degenerative disc disease, your doctor may perform a physical examination and prescribe imaging tests. Treatment includes medication and physiotherapy or strengthening exercises if other health problems are present. Talk to your doctor to find out more about the treatment options and sports rehabilitation services available.

    Osteoporosis and Spinal Fracture

    Osteoporosis and Spinal Fractures

    As we age, our bone strength decreases. Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones, leading to the higher likelihood of the bone fracturing or breaking. Osteoporosis develops over time, usually with no symptoms or discomfort until a bone breaks. Fractures due to osteoporosis commonly occur in the spine, hips, and wrists. Causes of osteoporosis include ageing, lack of nutrition such as calcium or vitamin D, hormonal imbalance, gender (females are more prone to it), and lack of exercise.

    If you suspect you may have osteoporosis, talk to your orthopaedic specialist. Your doctor may perform a physical examination, followed by imaging tests or bone density tests. Treatment typically includes non-surgical treatments such as adequate rest and pain medications. However, if severe pain continues, minimally invasive surgical methods such as kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty may be recommended.

    This is not a complete list of conditions we recognise and treat. The symptom checker is not a diagnostic tool. Please consult one of our qualified orthopaedic specialists to understand your condition better.