The way the spine is structured is geared toward flexibility, but this doesn’t mean that it’s immune to injury. In fact, in Singapore, it’s been estimated that up to 80 per cent of the adult population has experienced back pain. The condition is particularly common among people between 30 and 40 years of age and often leads to debilitating pain and anxiety.
If you’re concerned about neck and back injuries or spinal disorders like deformities and degenerative diseases, you can consult spine specialist Singapore doctors near you to get a clear idea of the cause of the condition and the possible treatments for it. This, in turn, can help you maximise your chances of finding relief for the symptoms and retaining your functionality and control over your body. In some cases, finding the right specialist may even hasten the healing process.
Your primary physician can point you to a spine specialist who can work closely with you, but it’s entirely possible for you to shop around for a professional opinion as well. That said, here are a few factors to consider when choosing which spine specialist to work with:
The Type of Spine Specialist You Need
When deciding whether a certain specialist is a fit for your needs, it’s good to remember that different types of specialists focus on treating different parts of the spine.
For example, since the spine features bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments, issues in these parts are best corrected by orthopaedic surgeons. At the same time, though, the spinal column houses the spinal cord, which is a part of the central nervous system. Issues that concern this specific organ system in the body are often diagnosed and surgically treated by neurosurgeons. In addition, there are also orthopaedic surgeons and neurosurgeons that practice spine surgery exclusively.
The right option depends on the condition of the person. Surgeries to correct spinal deformity and address disorders and conditions that concern the bones and joints, such as arthritis, are often handled by orthopaedic spine specialists. Surgeries to treat disorders that generally concern the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves, on the other hand, are primarily carried out by neurosurgeons that specialise in working on the spine.
The Spine Specialist’s Education, Training, and Career Progression
It’s possible to ask your primary physician for their recommended spine specialist and build a list of options from there. Take note, though, that just like in any profession, there are physicians and surgeons that may perform better than others both in med school and in practice. It can be a challenge to determine if a doctor is good or terrible at their job, but there are a few details that you can analyse to come to the right conclusion.
To start, you can look at the academic and medical institutions where the spine specialists on your list took up their medical studies, clerkship, fellowship, research, and clinical rotations. It’s highly likely that a spine specialist who undertook their study and training in a well-known and highly selective institution has been subjected to rigorous instruction and practice. You can also look into whether they hold professorships or if their research topics are relevant to your particular condition.
Other Patients’ Experiences with the Specialist
If you know people in your family or social circle who have experienced a spine condition that’s similar to yours, you can try asking them about their treatment plan and their specialist. Perhaps they can recommend a spine specialist who was able to match their needs and set their expectations. They can point you to a doctor or surgeon who was able to work with them and involve them in the process of their treatment, for example. Through referrals, you may just find a specialist who you’ll feel comfortable discussing your health concerns with.
Their Success Rate and Reputation for Safety
Of course, it’s important to scrutinise if the spine specialists on your list have a high success rate for the treatments and procedures that they carry out. This is a sign of their technical skill and an indicator that you’re in capable hands in the event that you can get them to handle your particular case. To see if they have a reputation for safety, check their name or practice against lists of medical practitioners who have been sanctioned by a professional licensing board. If they’re not on any such list, then that’s a good sign.
Putting yourself under the care of a spine specialist with whom you have a good relationship and who has your confidence will help you reduce the amount of stress and anxiety that you have over your ongoing condition. Given this, having a clear set of standards when looking for a spine specialist will help you find the best possible match for your case. Keeping the abovementioned factors in mind is key to making a quick and practical decision in what’s likely to be a stressful time in your life.