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Treat chronic pains without surgery at Singapore Paincare Center
Take a look around you. In the office, you might see colleagues slouching over their laptops. On the commute, passengers next to you probably have their heads hung low, backs hunching over all kinds of devices. You probably just caught yourself doing the same.
While poor posture seems like a trivial thing to worry about, this bad habit could well lead us into a lifetime of chronic back and neck pains that strike and disrupt every aspect of our lives such as getting a good night’s sleep and performing simple daily chores.
Back and neck pains are no stranger to most of us, whether young or old, male or female. In fact, one in five people will suffer from such pains at some point in their lives according to Dr Bernard Lee, consultant pain specialist and founder of Singapore Paincare Center.
Singapore Paincare Center recently attained the Singapore Quality Class (SQC) Business Excellence certification given out by Enterprise Singapore. On top of boosting the organisation's reputation, this achievement opened doors to good learning and networking opportunities for its employees. Their improved teamwork skills have also led to a more efficient work flow.
Dr Lee adds: "Patients, vendors and industry partners familiar with the Business Excellence framework are also more convinced of our improved internal systems and processes, as well as our commitment to exceed their expectations in terms of pain management."
Both outlets of Singapore Paincare Center — one in Paragon Medical Suites, the other in Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre — often receive patients suffering from acute and chronic pains in the back, knee, neck and leg. Managing such pain conditions isn’t as straightforward as it seems, which is why we ought to leave it to the experts.
"We treat chronic pain conditions by first carefully evaluating where the real source of pain comes from. What may seem like the obvious cause may not always be the true pain generator," says Dr Lee.
Take for instance, a patient who comes in for treatment of a bone spur (growth of extra bone) in the foot caused by plantar fasciitis, a painful heel condition. Instead of surgically removing the bone spur, pain specialists at Singapore Paincare Center target the pain source, the inflamed fascia, to administer an injection of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to enhance healing.
An alternative to open surgery
Injections and other methods that offer little or no surgical incision are known as minimally invasive procedures — a medical treatment that aims to treat the underlying pain generator by treating the pain source without cutting muscle or bone.
Having existed for more than 50 years, these procedures were primarily used by interventional radiologists and interventional anaesthesiologists — supporting surgeons providing non-surgical options of treatment. Examples of minimally invasive procedures, now commonly seen for treatment of chest pain and heart attack are angioplasty and stenting of blocked heart arteries by interventional cardiologists. Following the footsteps of cardiology, the last decade saw interventional anaesthesiologists and radiologists stepping out to consult patients directly.
Those with chronic pain who fear going under the knife can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that minimally invasive procedures are now your second option. Compared to open surgery, these procedures have lesser risk of nerve injuries, wound infections and long term complications. Dr Lee adds: "Being sedated, rather than going under general anaesthesia, is also safer for the maintenance of airway to lower the risk of poor oxygen supply. The risk of gastric regurgitation is also reduced."
As most minimally invasive procedures are done as a day surgery, patients can return to work and their daily activities the next day without the need for downtime after.
How is chronic back pain treated?
When patients visit Singapore Paincare Center with chronic back pain, pain specialists first diagnose the pain to determine if it is muscular or spinal in nature in order to lay out a unique pain management plan.
For back pain that is muscular in nature, treatment would involve minimally invasive procedures such as injecting platelet-rich plasma into the injured or strained muscle to speed up the healing process.
If the back pain stems from a slipped disc, treatment could involve nucleoplasty, another minimally invasive procedure that utilises a laser injection to decompress the slipped disc, reducing pressure on the nearby nerve roots or spinal cord.
A small needle is first placed in the centre of the affected disc, and then made more visible with a contrast dye injected into it. Next, a wand-like device generating radio frequency energy is placed through the needle to dissolve tissues in the centre of the disc. This technology, known as coblation, causes the slipped disc to shrink back in.
How is arthritis in the knee treated?
Another common pain condition among patients at Singapore Paincare Center is arthritis in the knee, which is often a result of ageing or high-impact sports injuries. Even though there is no cure for arthritis, there are minimally invasive procedures that can help to manage the pain.
Injections of artificial lubricant into the joint reduces inflammation and friction, thereby resolving knee pain. It could also enhance the production of natural lubricant in the knees. Another possible treatment procedure is Radio-Frequency Ablation, which delivers radio frequency energy through a needle to the joints to heat and "burn" painful nerves in the knee, hence stopping the transmission of pain signals.
Visit http://paincarecenter.com.sg to discover more about managing pain with minimally invasive procedures.