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Spinal Stenosis

Understanding Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis refers to the narrowing of the spaces between the spine, which increases the pressure placed on the nerve roots and spinal cord.

It tends to occur in the neck and lower back, and has associated symptoms of weakness, pain and numbness in the arms or legs. Sometimes, it can be asymptomatic.

In serious cases, surgery may be necessary to create extra space for the spinal cord and nerve roots, thus reducing the pressure placed on them.

What are the Types & Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis?

Depending on the location of the stenosis and the nerves affected, there are two types:

Cervical Stenosis

Occurring in the neck area, symptoms include: numbness, weakness, pain and tingling sensations in the hand, arm, foot or leg; balance issues; neck pain; or even the sudden onset of bowel or bladder problems.

Lumbar Stenosis

Occurring in the lower back area, it is the most common form of spinal stenosis and symptoms include: numbness, weakness, pain and tingling sensations in the foot or leg (especially when walking or standing for extended periods of time); back pain.

Should you experience any of these symptoms, contact our spine and orthopaedic clinic for a detailed assessment and proper diagnosis.
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What Causes the Spaces Between the Spine to Narrow?

  • Excess Bone Growth

  • This can cause excess bone to grow into the spinal canal. Causes for excessive bone growth include certain bone diseases or the formation of bone spurs.
  • Herniated Discs

  • Known as a slipped disc, herniated disc or prolapsed disc, these discs act as shock absorbers in the spine and they tend to wear off with age. The herniated disc may compress a nerve, causing pain, numbness or weakness in the legs.
  • Spinal Tumours

  • Abnormal growths may form within the spinal cord or in the spaces between the spinal cord and vertebrae.
  • Spinal Injuries

  • Traumatic spinal injury can lead to the fracture or dislocation of bone and affecting the spinal canal. Inflammation and swelling can also place additional pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots.
  • Thickened Ligaments

  • The cords that hold the bones in the spine firmly together can become stiff and thickened over the years, potentially bulging into the spinal canal.

Effective Spinal Stenosis Treatment in Singapore

Depending on the severity and type of spinal injury, a suitable treatment plan will be tailored to your specific . This may include:

  • Lifestyle Changes
    • Maintaining a healthy body weight, doing suitable exercises and staying active, using a walking support, using heat packs or ice packs for pain and inflammation relief.
  • Physiotherapy
    • This will help to improve your strength, flexibility and stability of your spine. It also increases your sense of balance.
  • Medications
    • This is usually a variety of pain relief medication ranging from over-the-counter ones to prescription ones.
  • Steroid Injections
    • In cases of severe pain, certain medicines can be directly injected into the spine, such as epidural, corticosteroid/cortisone injections. These produce an anaesthetic and long-lasting effect.
  • Decompression
    • Suitable only in lumbar stenosis, fine instruments are used to remove a part of a thickened ligament in order to increase the space in the spinal canal and relieve pressure.
  • Spinal Stenosis Surgery
    • Should all the above fail to treat the spinal stenosis effectively, surgery will be recommended. Typically, surgery to treat spinal stenosis comes with the purpose of reducing the pressure exerted on the spinal cord and nerve roots.
    • Depending on the type of surgery, this can be achieved through minimally invasive methods as well.
    At Atlas Orthopaedic Clinic, We Will Guide You Through Every Step of the Way
    From Diagnostic Tests to a Wide Range of Treatments & Long-Term Rehabilitation, We Have You Covered.
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    Dr Chua Soo Yong Consultant Orthopaedic & Spine Surgeon
    MBBS (S’pore), MRCS (Edinburgh), MMed (Ortho), FRCS (Ortho), FAMS (Ortho)

    Dr Chua is an Orthopaedic and Spine Specialist with over 20 years of experience treating back and neck issues, which are commonly associated with the spine.

    He is particularly passionate about treating conditions of the spine not only because it relieves pain, but because it also has the potential to reverse paralysis to a certain extent, which means a great deal to patients.

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    At Atlas Orthopaedic Clinic, We Will Guide You Through Every Step of the Way
    From Diagnostic Tests to a Wide Range of Treatments & Long-Term Rehabilitation, We Have You Covered.
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