Back Pain Singapore Treatment - Is it time to visit?

Let’s face it, almost all of us get back pain some time in our lives. Besides occasional strains while working or playing sports, common causes of pain in your lower back include awkward positioning in sitting, standing, or sleeping. Some of us may get pain when lifting up heavy objects with outstretched arms. Others may experience it gradually while sitting at work with tensed back muscles. In most cases if we change our position, do some stretching exercises, or massage the area for a while, the pain may just go away gradually. Recurring lower back pain may be a presentation of underlying disease or structural imbalance in the body. Hence, if the same type of symptoms reappear repeatedly, or the severity has worsened and last longer than before, it is recommended to seek help from medical professionals such as doctors and physiotherapists.

What is Back Pain?

The most common form of back pain which accounts for 90% of all cases is called ‘non-specific back pain’, which means the cause of the pain is unsure. While it may be classified under a general category of pain, different pain experiences may be associated with different structures of the body. For example, a muscle spasm will feel like a constant ache that may be localized or around a small area, and get worse when attempting to exert effort towards a certain direction. Ligament or joint strain, on the other hand, is a sharper and more localized pain, and having aggravation with a certain position or angle. Injury of deeper tissues such as intervertebral discs or deep ligaments may lead to irritation of nerves, thus creating a pain experience that radiates over larger or more distant areas. In the case of a bone fracture, any movement will be excruciating, hence very limited movement is occuring around the back region. 

Sometimes, pain experienced over the back may not originate from the back directly. The pain may be a referred symptom from the neck or internal organs. In patients with multiple painful areas across the body, such as fibromyalgia, emotional stress may also lead to physical stress. The varying complexity of issues makes chronic low back pain a global challenge for patients and healthcare providers. 

In a vibrant metropolitan city state, people living in Singapore have large diversity in lifestyle and work duties, but as many other developed cities, many of our jobs entails us to be sitting in the office and having a sedentary lifestyle. The most vulnerable part of the body that is subjected to weakening with such a lifestyle is the buttock (gluteal) region. With prolonged periods of sitting down, our gluteal muscles tend to be inactive. As these muscles play a major role in standing, walking and running, weakness in the gluteal muscles often leads to back pain and knee pain. 

 

Common forms of back pain complaints in Singapore

Back pain can manifest in many forms – and it can occur to anyone. It is common to hear that back pain is a result of a sedentary lifestyle and no doubt, being inactive is one of the risks of back pain. However, back pain can also occur in active individuals, especially in athletes or gym goers. This can be due to improper training techniques or overtraining. 

Upper Back Pain

      • T4 syndrome
      • Scapular pain
      • Rib pain
      • Scoliosis

Lower Back Pain

      • Disc Herniation 
      • Sciatica
      • Lumbar Spondylosis
      • Scoliosis
      • Spinal Stenosis 
      • Fracture of vertebrae
      • Bone spurs / osteophytes
      • Scoliosis

Signs and Symptoms of Back Pain

Back pain is one of the most common complaints of discomfort, and it is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Most people have pain in their upper or lower back at least once in their lives. Fortunately, you can take measures to prevent or relieve most back pain episodes. Surgery is rarely needed to treat back pain.

Signs and symptoms of back pain can include:

      • Muscle ache
      • Pain that radiates down your leg
      • Pain that worsens with bending, lifting, standing or walking

Common Treatments for Back Pain in Singapore

In Singapore, there are many treatment options for back pain that we can choose from. These include massage, gua sha, acupuncture with chinese physicians, chiropractic adjustments, conventional physiotherapy, medical treatment by doctors, etc. Most of these treatment options provide reasonable help for patients with acute back pain and localized issues and they include, but are not limited to:

  1. Back Massage
  2. Back Brace
  3. Lumbar traction
  4. Electrotherapy modalities
  5. Joint mobilization

However, there is a large group of people who suffer from recurring or chronic back pain and the usual treatment options may not be able to give them lasting or a permanent solution. Our clinical analysis of such cases indicate that the underlying root causes are usually related to habitual errors in their resting position or the way they use the body at work / during sports. Without identifying and addressing the underlying habits, conventional treatment options will only provide temporary symptom relief. At Balance Core, we focus on clearly identifying the underlying root problems, and closely guide each client to change their wrong habits and form good postural or movement habits. This will help them to not only get lasting pain relief, but they also perform better at work or during sports, preventing recurrences.

Upper back pain

Pain experience over the upper back is quite different from the lower back as usually it indicates different structures at fault. Common origins of the problems may be at the neck, rib cage, or shoulder blades. While neck and shoulder issues may be well recognized by healthcare practitioners, errors in rib cage positioning may be under recognized. Clinically we have found out that along with overall postural errors, certain ribs when positioned in a wrong manner, may lead to lasting pain over the upper back. When such a problem is clearly identified and corrected with our manual techniques, the pain relief usually happens instantly and movement of the upper body becomes normalized. 

Causes of upper back pain

      • Poor posture
      • Joint dysfunction
      • Muscular irritation / spasm
      • Referred pain from cervical, shoulder or organs
      • Other systemic diseases

Lower back pain

In order for lower back pain to be resolved, the pelvis and hip position needs to be balanced. In the ideal sitting posture, the buttocks need to be wide with the tailbone not touching the seat. The thighs should not be crossed or too close to each other. In the ideal standing posture, the buttocks need to be relatively closed with the tailbone pointing down, and the thighs having some gap in between.  Lower back pain is usually associated with abnormal tilt or shift at the pelvis and hip region. These ideal postures ensure the stresses loaded to the lower back are minimal.

Causes of lower back pain

      • Poor posture
      • Herniated disc
      • Muscle irritation / spasm
      • Joint dysfunction
      • Osteophytes

Back Pain Treatments

Modalities
  • Radiofrequency TECAR Therapy
  • Therapeutic ultrasound
  • Neck & back traction
Manual Therapy
  • Myofascial release
  • Trigger point release
  • Joint mobilization and manipulation
  • Facilitated stretch
Exercises
  • Posture enhancement
  • Gait training
  • Core control training
  • Specific muscle activation
  • Kinetic chain exercises
  • Work / sports specific exercises
  • Life Energy Exercises
Others
  • Ergonomic adjustment / advice
  • Dry needling
  • Sports taping
  • Bracing
  • SHAPECRUNCH customized foot In-soles

When to See a Back Pain Specialist?

If the back strain lasts more than a week, or radiates away from the back to other areas, it may indicate a more serious problem than a simple strain or bruise. In Singapore, numerous people tend to avoid seeing a back pain doctor or physiotherapist unless they are in severe pain. It is important to seek help early to detect the underlying root cause and to avoid delay in healing. If help is not rendered in the early stage, it may lead to more complicated issues at a later stage.

Singapore's Back Pain Specialists at Balance Core

At Balance Core, all our Physiotherapists are specialised in detailed analysis of the whole body presentation, so that we can identify both the nature of injury as well as the underlying root causes. With the focus on restoring the holistic balance of the body, we have helped people with chronic back pain to finally recover and embrace their life fully. Some have even suffered for more than 10 years and tried various treatment options in the past but to no avail. The root problems are usually linked to certain wrong habits in their body position or actions and the pain will recur and worsen if the wrong habits / behaviours are not changed. Our physiotherapists are specialized in helping our clients to change their postural or movement habits to ensure that they will get long term relief and solution.

What are the common back pain conditions treated at Balance core?

Many of our patients with chronic back pain have seen a doctor and been told that they have conditions such as “degeneration of the back”, “wear and tear of the back”, “slipped disc in the back”, “nerve impingement”, “Spinal joint arthritis”, etc. They may have been advised to go for orthopedic surgery to reduce spinal cord or nerve compression. They may have tried several medications for pain management, and other treatments such as acupuncture, chiropractic adjustment, osteopath treatment, etc. All these may have helped them to a certain extent, but unfortunately the pain still returns.

Services that Balance core provide

Changing habits is always not a simple task. However, with years of clinical experience, our founder of Balance Core Physiotherapy Centre, Mr Michael Yan has formulated a step-by-step pathway to systematically change one’s postural or movement habits. We begin with identifying the structural misalignments or restrictions in the body and using manual techniques to thoroughly unblock restrictions and restore healthy body alignment. Secondly, we teach our patients how to activate the muscles that are neglected by the brain due to wrong habits, and carefully train these weak muscles to perform proper control tasks. Thirdly, we integrate the proper control muscles with the power muscles to form good movement sequences. We get our patients to perform repeated movements to condition the muscles so that new habits can replace the old. Lastly, we teach them the best practice of those tasks involved in their work or sport. Ultimately, they are not only pain-free, but also able to perform at their work or sports with proper skills, preventing future injuries.

Contact Balance Core for back pain management

Are you suffering from back pain and it doesn’t seem to go away? It is best for you to seek assessment and treatment from Balance Core Physiotherapists. All our physiotherapists spend quality time with each patient to do a thorough assessment to identify both the present issues as well as background issues. With accurate diagnosis and individualized treatment, we ensure every client gets quality care and fastest recovery. To book an appointment please call us at 64582575, or message us at 91714325.