In the journey of life, we all experience aches, pains, and physical discomfort at some point. It’s an inevitable part of being human. But what happens when these pains become a constant companion when they start to interfere with our daily activities, or even worse when they affect our quality of life? This is where the field of Orthopaedic and Pain Management steps in, offering pain relief and improved mobility for patients with musculoskeletal conditions.
Orthopaedics is a medical specialty that focuses on the musculoskeletal system, which includes your bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and everything that helps you move. So, when your bones creak, your joints ache, or your muscles feel strained, an orthopaedic surgeon is a specialist you turn to. They are well-equipped to diagnose, treat, and prevent conditions that affect your musculoskeletal system. From broken bones to arthritis, sports injuries to spinal problems, their goal is to keep you on your feet and moving freely.
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Osteoporosis is a complicated condition because it doesn’t give you clear warning signs like a headache or fever. Instead, it silently weakens your bones over time. The most common sign is breaking a bone easily, even from a small fall. You might also notice some changes like a change in your height, changes in your posture, having trouble breathing, or feeling lower back pain. These changes could be signs of osteoporosis, especially if you’re older. Osteoporosis happens because as you age, your bones stop growing as much as they should, and sometimes, they even shrink. This can happen faster in women after menopause. So, if you notice these signs, it’s a good idea to see an orthopaedic surgeon for a proper medical interview and consultation.
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Osteoporosis can affect anyone, but certain groups are more at risk:
These factors can increase your chances of developing osteoporosis, so it’s important to take care of your bone health, especially if you fall into any of these categories. There are strategies to prevent further problems caused by low bone density:
By following these strategies, you can lower your risk of injuries and maintain a better quality of life despite having low bone density.
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To find out if you have osteoporosis, a doctor will do a bone density test. This test checks how strong your bones are by using X-rays to see how much calcium and other minerals they have. During the test, you’ll lie down, and a machine will take pictures of your bones. It’s painless, like a regular X-ray, and you can go home right afterward. There are no needles or shots involved. If you have a family history of osteoporosis or are at risk, your doctor might recommend getting these tests regularly. It’s the best way to catch the problem early and prevent broken bones.
After the medical interview and diagnostic tests, your orthopaedic surgeon will create a personalized treatment plan for you. This plan may include the following methods:
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Truth: Low bone density can affect people of all ages, including young adults and even children.
Truth: While it’s more common in women, men can also develop low bone density.
Truth: Low bone density can lead to fractures and other health problems, making it a serious condition.
Truth: Lifestyle changes like a healthy diet and exercise can help improve bone density.
Truth: While supplements can help, they’re usually part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes other strategies like medication and exercise.
An orthopaedic surgeon’s role in treating low bone density, often caused by a condition called osteoporosis, is to help when bones become weak and more likely to break. Think of your bones like the scaffolding of a building. When they become fragile due to low bone density, it’s similar to the scaffolding weakening. Orthopaedic surgeons help patients to regain mobility, alleviate symptoms, and enhance quality of life.
Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become weak and brittle, making them more likely to break.
Low bone density can result from factors like aging, hormonal changes, genetics, and a lack of calcium and vitamin D in the diet.
Older adults, especially postmenopausal women, and people with a family history of the condition are at higher risk.
It is often diagnosed through a bone density test called a DEXA scan.
Osteoporosis can limit physical activity and lead to fractures, potentially affecting mobility and independence.
Yes, though it’s less common, men can also develop osteoporosis.
There is no cure, but treatment and lifestyle changes can manage the condition, reduce fracture risk, and improve bone health.
Dr. Yong Ren graduated from the National University of Singapore’s Medical faculty and embarked on his orthopaedic career soon after. Upon completion of his training locally, he served briefly as an orthopedic trauma surgeon at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital before embarking on sub-specialty training in Switzerland at the famed Inselspital in Bern.
He underwent sub-specialty training in pelvic and spinal surgery, and upon his return to Singapore served as head of the orthopaedic trauma team till 2019. He continues to serve as a Visiting Consultant at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.
Well-versed in a variety of orthopedic surgeries, he also served as a member of the country council for the local branch of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Osteosynthesefragen (Trauma) in Singapore. He was also involved in the training of many of the young doctors in Singapore and was appointed as an Assistant Professor by the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. Before he entered the private sector, he also served as core faculty for orthopedic resident training by the National Healthcare Group.