From head to toe, our body is capable of impressive processes and complex actions. The body is a structure of parts operating as a unit, serving a common purpose of growth and survival. It is a well-oiled machine that continues to function even as we sleep. Thanks to our bodies, we can move, walk, dance, play, and experience what life has to offer.
As time passes, we become more vulnerable to the hardships of life. As we face challenges and overcome struggles, our body grows and ages with us. In Singapore, it is forecasted that 25% of the population will be aged 65 and older by the year 2023 (Asian Development Bank, 2020). This demographic shift will affect the country’s current health and social infrastructure.
When we feel pain, it’s our body’s way of telling us that something is not right. The root cause of the pain may be obvious, such as a foot fracture. Other times, the root cause may be something that is indiscernible, such as h as nerve problems. Pain may be a sign of an underlying condition that necessitates medical treatment. As this ageing trend continues, Singaporeans will need advice from trained doctors to make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing.
(image source: https://www.amicarehospital.in/blog/some-important-details-of-orthopaedic-treatment-and-orthopedist/)
The treatment of the musculoskeletal system is the focus of orthopaedic care. This system is made up of your tendons, ligaments, joints, bones, and joints. People of all ages can experience pain resulting from orthopaedic conditions. It can range from muscular pain from strains, joint pain from deterioration or injury to joints, bone pain from fractures or breaks, tissue pain from inflammation, and nerve pain.
No matter what kind of pain you are experiencing—from mild to severe—it can prevent you from experiencing the best things in life. While some people refer to them as “bone specialists”, the correct term would be orthopaedists or orthopaedic surgeons. Orthopaedists treat musculoskeletal conditions like sports injuries, joint discomfort, and back disorders using surgical and nonsurgical methods. There are several subspecialties for orthopaedic care, such as hand & upper extremity, foot & ankle, orthopaedic oncology (includes tumour and cancer treatments), paediatric orthopaedics, sports medicine, spinal surgery, trauma surgery, and joint replacement surgery (Davis, 2020).
(image source: https://www.centracare.com/blog/2018/march/what-is-pain-/)
Chronic pain can have a variety of causes. It can come from injuries, falls, or accidents. It may have persisted even after recovering from a previous disease or injury. It can also be rooted in a persistent source of pain, like cancer or arthritis. Many people experience pain without any prior injuries or signs of sickness. Typically, chronic pain manifests itself through symptoms such as stiffness, inflammation, soreness, and frequent pain. Since chronic pain can be misdiagnosed, it makes it difficult to determine a single course of treatment, which is why medical providers often resort to a variety of tests and treatments.
Chronic pain diminishes a person’s capacity to maintain a normal lifestyle. Living with chronic pain causes irritability, poor sleep patterns, mental health issues, exhaustion, and a predisposition to other ailments (Christiano, 2018). It is crucial for Singaporeans to be knowledgeable about the treatment options available to them. It may lead to other conditions such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, and mood swings, which raise your risk for other conditions. We must remember that chronic pain manifests differently for each person. There is no general solution for every type of chronic pain.
(image source: https://www.caryortho.com/10-commonly-asked-orthopaedic-questions/)
People of all ages, lifestyles, and backgrounds can be diagnosed with orthopaedic conditions. Even so, there are several risk factors that are associated with a higher likelihood of developing specific diseases (Mishra, 2022).
It can be challenging for medical professionals to pinpoint the origin of pain, especially if it comes from multiple sources. It may be a difficult task to tackle chronic pain, but medical providers are well-equipped to choose the appropriate tests and procedures. The patient’s history, current symptoms, and diagnostic imaging exams can help in the decision-making process.
Advanced imaging techniques can help medical professionals investigate your condition. These techniques include ultrasounds, MRIs, and CT scans. Your doctor may also ask you to undergo other tests, such as blood tests and reflex & balance tests (Davis, 2020).
(image source: https://thomsonhospitals.com/orthopaedic-surgery/)
Numerous musculoskeletal conditions are treated by orthopaedic surgeons. These diseases might be inherited, the result of an injury, or the natural ageing process (Mishra, 2022). Pain in the lower back, buttocks, foot, ankle, elbow, shoulder, neck, knee, hand, or wrist can be caused by injurious sources (such as sprains, fractures, or dislocations from accidents) or non-injurious sources (such as overworked muscles, tendon overuse, worn-out joints, blood supply problems, and more). Upon examination performed by your orthopaedic specialist, you may be diagnosed with the following conditions:
Aside from this list, there are many other orthopaedic conditions that you may experience. Common symptoms of an orthopaedic condition are joint deformities, fatigue, joint swelling, limited range of motion, muscle spasms, numbness, pain, and inflammation in the affected area (Lewis, 2020). It is important to seek advice from a medical provider to assess your symptoms so you can get the care you deserve.
Generally, orthopaedic care focuses on the restoration of function and movement pertaining to the joints or muscles. Majority of orthopaedic surgery is focused on the management of pain and relief of related symptoms. There various methods for treating orthopaedic conditions:
Orthopaedic surgeons create customised treatment plans for their patients. There are numerous therapy methods available for managing pain, and these are determined by the patient’s symptoms (Dwyer, 2009). These treatment plans are often a combination of pain management techniques and orthopaedic surgery methods (Davis, 2020).
In many degenerative conditions, such as osteoarthritis, it may not be possible to completely heal from the ailment. It is only possible to relieve symptoms and manage sources of pain. The overall goal is for the patient to feel normal enough to be able to perform daily activities with ease. Additionally, the focus is on restoration of the joint’s range of motion and improvement of joint stability with muscle strengthening and therapeutic exercises (Davis, 2020).
Numerous orthopaedic conditions can result in disability and chronic issues if patients are not properly treated and given time to recover (Orthobullets, 2016). It is best to discuss your treatment options and lifestyle changes with your doctor. It is also wise to discuss any potential side effects so you can plan ahead and avoid complications.
Reducing The Risk of Orthopaedic Conditions and Repetitive Strain Injuries
Your musculoskeletal system is comprised of tissues, tendons, bones, ligaments, and muscles. Together, they assist you in moving and supporting the weight of your body. Injuries, illness, and ageing can all lead to discomfort, stiffness, and other issues relating to function and movement. By managing your general health, you can maintain the strength of your musculoskeletal system and prevent future complications (University of California, 2019).
It is a common misconception that only older individuals experience orthopaedic conditions. It can happen to anyone, either through injurious or non-injurious sources. The main goal of orthopaedic treatments is to correct physical problems, provide relief for symptoms, and prevent future complications. It is a multi-faceted approach where interventional and noninterventional approaches are used to treat musculoskeletal conditions. Orthopaedic surgeons are well-equipped to treat a wide range of ailments, such as sports injuries, joint pain, muscle strains, and back problems. With a lot going on, we tend to forget to take care of ourselves. It is important to remember that our mental health benefits from taking proper care of our physical body. If you are experiencing chronic pain and difficulties doing daily activities, it may be time to consult an orthopaedic surgeon. Orthopaedic surgeons are devoted to diagnosing, treating, preventing, and rehabilitating those with musculoskeletal problems. With the right healthcare provider, you can receive a personalised treatment plan that will help you live life to the fullest.
Frequently asked questions
The objectives of orthopaedic pain management include alleviating pain, maintaining mobility, and improving the chances of recuperation.
It is a multi-faceted approach for people of all ages and backgrounds in hopes of helping them deal with acute or chronic pain.
The treatment plans would depend on the characteristics of the patient and their unique needs.
See “The Basics of Pain Management and Orthopaedic Care” section above for a full explanation.
Orthopaedics treat a wide range of issues especially related to bone, muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons, and nerves of the limbs, neck, and back.
The most common musculoskeletal conditions include fractures, arthritis, and osteoporosis.
These ailments are treated using interventional methods (such as surgery) and non-interventional methods (such as physiotherapy).
See “Exploring and Understanding Various Orthopaedic Conditions” section above for a list of conditions.
Physiotherapy can be used to treat orthopaedic pain through customised exercises, joint manipulation, muscle stretching, and more.
It is an effective treatment option when used in conjunction with all other necessary options such as medication, orthotics, surgery and pain procedures.
See “Management and Treatment of Orthopaedic Ailments” for more information.
Provide a list of symptoms and the timeline of when these signs appeared.
Prepare any previous orthopaedic investigations which might be relevant to the area of interest, these investigations may save time and money and aid in the diagnosis.
Bring medical documentation such as previous X-Rays or CT scans, physical therapy reports, a list of your previous medications, allergies, and other important information.
See “Orthopaedic Surgery: Expectations from Consultation to Aftercare” section above for more information.
Recovery time depends on the type of surgery and the condition of the patient.
It may take up to 2-3 months to recover from upper limb injuries and around 3-6 months for lower limb surgeries and knee replacements.
Spinal procedures and surgeries are also very varied and will depend on the surgery performed.
See “Orthopaedic Surgery: Expectations from Consultation to Aftercare” section above for a detailed explanation.
This is dependent on the cause of the chronic pain and results from clinical tests.
It is best to seek an orthopaedic surgeon’s advice for a customised treatment plan.
See “Reducing The Risk of Orthopaedic Conditions and Repetitive Strain Injuries” section for general advice.
Yes, physiotherapists provide education and advice in hopes of helping those affected by musculoskeletal ailments.
Physiotherapists are accredited healthcare providers who have undergone rigorous training in physiology, anatomy, and other fields of study.
Physiotherapists often work with orthopaedic surgeons and other healthcare providers to deliver a multi-faceted approach to care.
See “Management and Treatment of Orthopaedic Ailments” section above for a detailed explanation.
The Orthopaedic & Pain Practice is here to address your musculoskeletal needs through personalised treatment plans and a multi-faceted approach to pain management. Reach out to us by contacting +65 9898 3595 for a consultation with an orthopaedic surgeon.
The Orthopaedic & Pain Practice is located at 6 Napier Road, #09-14, Gleneagles Medical Centre, Singapore 258499. You may also send an e-mail to [email protected].
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 orthopaedic trauma surgeon in 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 Visiting Consultant to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.
Well versed in a variety of orthopaedic 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. Prior to his entry into the private sector, he also served as core faculty for orthopaedic resident training by the National Healthcare Group.
Dr Yong Ren brings to the table his years of experience as a teacher and trainer in orthopaedic surgery. With his expertise in minimally invasive fracture surgery, pelvic reconstructive surgery, hip and knee surgery as well as spinal surgery, he is uniquely equipped with the tools and expertise necessary to help you on your road to recovery.