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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 Spine

    degenerative spine conditions

    Degenerative spine conditions involve gradual wear and tear to the discs, joints and bones of the spine that typically occurs in older people. These changes may eventually place pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, resulting in a variety of symptoms. The changes may include bony spurring (osteophytes), decreased disc height, loss of joint cartilage, or thickening of bone. Degenerative spine conditions are more common in people with a history of lower back pain or trauma to the spine, or people who do large amounts of lifting, bending, twisting or sitting.

    Minor degeneration may cause few or no symptoms. As the condition progresses, you may experience symptoms such as general lower back stiffness, loss of spinal movement, or low back pain. With more severe degeneration involving spinal cord or nerve compression, symptoms may involve pain, pins and needles, and weakness or numbness in the lower back, buttocks, groin, legs or feet.

    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.

    *This is not a complete list of all the conditions that we recognise and treat. Please note that the symptom checker is not a diagnostic tool. Do consult one of our qualified orthopaedic specialists for an accurate diagnosis of what condition is causing your symptoms.