FAQ

What is radicular pain / sciatica?

Radicular pain or sciatica is pain that often starts from the back or spine and travels to the limbs. For example, patients with lower back problems that affect the nerves in the spine may experience pain, discomfort, numbness or tingling sensations that start from the back and travel to the knees or feet. Treatment involves a careful clinical assessment, scans and medication. Minimally invasive advanced pain interventions have also been shown to be effective in treating such conditions.

What is chronic back or neck pain?

Chronic spinal pain is pain that persists for 3 months or longer. There are many causes for such pain, ranging from muscle injuries and age-related arthritis, to spinal disc problems. Numerous treatment modalities are available but often, a combination of medication, physiotherapy, postural modification and pain interventions significantly improves the quality of life in many patients.

What is neuropathic pain?

Neuropathic pain is pain that arises from problems in the nerves that are found everywhere in our body. Pain of this origin differs from the more common pain that arises from tissue injury (e.g. stubbing your toe). Neuropathic pain is often (but not exclusively) described to be burning, sharp and lancinating. It can arise even from light touch or pressure applied on the affected area. Such pain is often difficult to control but with a combination of specially tailored nerve medications, physiotherapy and minimally invasive pain procedures, many patients are able to obtain significant relief from their pain.

What is ischemic pain?

All tissues in our bodies require oxygen for growth and function. In the event that inadequate amounts of oxygen is delivered to the tissues, pain may result. For example, with poor blood circulation in the legs, patients may develop pain upon walking or if it is severe enough, even pain while resting or sleeping. Pain medications may help but sometimes, a special procedure is required to help improve blood flow to the affected region. Our pain specialists will be able to advise if this is appropriate, or if a surgical option is needed.

What is post-herpetic neuralgia?

Chicken pox is an extremely common disease. When the chicken pox virus strikes a second time in life, the commonly known condition known as shingles develops. The majority of patients recover from shingles without any adverse outcome, however, some patients develop symptoms of abnormal nerve pain (see neuropathic pain) even after the skin blisters have healed. This is more commonly seen in the older population though younger patients may be affected too. Treatment is focused on pain control and a combination of pain relievers, nerve medications and occasionally nerve injections may be useful.

What is diabetic neuropathy?

Diabetes is increasingly common in our society. It affects not only the sugar levels in our bodies but also the blood circulation and nervous system. A well-known complication of long standing diabetes is diabetic neuropathy, where patients develop numbness in the hands and/or feet, or pain in these areas. This can be extremely distressing and effective pain management is important. While pain and nerve medications can help, effective sugar control is also crucial in preventing further progression of the disease.

What is cancer pain?

Cancer is a leading killer disease in our rapidly aging population. Cancer patients may suffer from debilitating pain due to worsening of the tumour, spread to the bones, invasion of nerves or as a result of chemotherapy. Adequate pain relief helps to improve the quality of life. This may take the form of medications, neurolytic injections or even intrathecal pumps. At times, the pain can even persist after the cancer has gone into remission. We aim to help cancer patients achieve optimal pain control.

What are chronic headaches?

Headaches are very common. Most of the time, they are benign conditions and can be attributed to migraines or tension/cluster headaches. At times cervical spine problems can also lead to headaches. Our specialists will perform a thorough examination and advise you about treatment. Most patients improve with medications, but occasionally nerve blocks do help. Lifestyle modification and stress management are also important for chronic headaches, which are sometimes challenging for patients to cope with.

What is musculoskeletal pain?

Musculoskeletal pain is usually a result of stress on the muscles, ligaments and tendons. Muscle tissue can be damaged with the wear and tear of daily activities. Trauma to muscles and joints also can cause musculoskeletal pain. Other causes of pain include postural strain, repetitive movements, and overuse. Poor posture or poor body mechanics may worsen the discomfort. Our doctors will review you thoroughly and advise treatment. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be necessary, but some patients may benefit from injections with local anaesthetic and steroids. We will also advise you on physical rehabilitation.

What is fibromyalgia?

Patients with fibromyalgia suffer from chronic pain in multiple areas of the body. They can suffer from musculoskeletal pain, neck and back pain as well. Often, they also have to cope with other painful ailments like headaches or abdominal discomfort. They may not sleep or eat well. As a result, daily functioning is greatly affected. Our doctors will do a complete assessment and optimize pain control. We will also advise on medications, exercise and other forms of therapy. Some patients benefit from injections with local anaesthetic and steroids.

What is complex regional pain syndrome?

Sometimes, after an injury to the limbs, the soft tissues and skin becomes painful, inflamed and red even if there is no fracture of the underlying bone. The affected area may also be swollen and stiff. This can persist for a prolonged period of time. Patients often feel frustrated by the pain, and the impact on their daily function. We help to prescribe the necessary treatment for CRPS, and aid the recovery process with appropriate physical rehabilitation of the affected limb. Prognosis is usually good if treatment is begun early.

What is post surgical pain syndrome?

Some patients continue to suffer from pain at the operation area long after the wound has healed. This is not uncommon and may be a form of nerve pain. The healing process for nerves can be longer than soft tissues or skin after surgery. Our doctors will give you a comprehensive assessment and advise you on the necessary treatment to help improve your symptoms. This will enable you to regain control of your life again postoperatively.