Back pain affects most people at some point in our lives.
It can be caused by many conditions, ranging from a back sprain to more severe conditions such as slipped discs, a degenerated spine, infections and even bone tumours.
Many cases of mild back pain may recover naturally with rest, stretches, exercises or traditional treatments such as accupunture or tuina massage.
However if back pain is severe or persistent, it may be necessary to see a medical doctor.
Other than affecting a persons’ lifstyle, ability to work and social activities, a delay in getting proper professional evaluation and correct treatment may allow the condition to deteriorate, resulting in severe long term problems.
When a patient is suffering from pain and experiencing an urgency to get the correct treatment, can be difficult to find the most appropriate doctor for our condition.
To help patients make an informed choice, here is a checklist of important considerations:
The different types of doctors who see patients with back pain include family physicians, orthopaedic surgeons, rheumatologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons and even anaesthetists.
Most doctors will have their areas of expertise and preferred treatment methods such as surgery, injections, medications and new non-invasive solutions.
Each treatment method will likely have it’s risks and limitations.
Painkillers for example, may cause side effects and only provide temporary relief, while surgery would require a patient accept the possibility of operative complications.
Is there a wait for X-rays or MRIs needed to properly access your condition before starting the treatment?
Ideally you should get an appointment immediately, the next working day at the latest.
As back pain can be a very difficult condition to treat, it is possible that first-line therapy or even second-line treatments may fail.
While there are many advances in back pain treatments available internationally, some new treatments are not yet widely available in Singapore.
Is your doctor likely to be able to offer you new treatments if you need them?
It is well known that good medical care can be expensive.
But many people have medical insurance that can cover their medical care even if they see a private doctor.
Will the doctor only offer “cost-effective” standard options when a new, more costly treatment could potentially give you better results?
A third party with close knowledge and the benefit of knowing the experiences of past patients can be very helpful for you to make an informed choice.
For a recommendation on which doctor to consult for your condition, simply send us a message
(Our doctor recommendation service is FREE. If you optionally request extra services such as translation and medical transport, there may be a small fee involved)