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Spine and Spinal Disorders

Spine and Spinal Disorders - What it is

​The spinal column spreads the body weight from the head to the pelvis and protects the spinal cord. It consists of bony vertebrae connected together by cartilage-like structures (discs) and ligaments (Figure 1).

  • Degenerative Disease of the Spine (Spondylosis)

The spine is subjected to wear and tear like all joints in the body, which changes the structure. Degeneration of
the disc may cause it to bulge and compress the spinal cord or nerves.

  • Tumours of the Spine

These may include tumours of the spinal column or the spinal cord (Figure 2). Tumours may be primary (originating from the spine) or secondary (spread from other sites like the lung or breast).

Figure 2 Tumour compressing the spinal cord

  • Spinal Trauma

Injuries to the spine are common in road traffic and diving accidents and falls from height.

脊柱将体重从头部分散到骨盆,并保护脊髓。脊柱由通过软骨样组织 (椎间盘) 连接在一起的骨性椎骨以及韧带组成(图1)。


  • 脊椎退行性疾病 (Spondylosis)


  • 脊椎肿瘤

脊椎肿瘤包括脊柱肿瘤或脊髓肿瘤(图2)。肿瘤可能 是原发性的(源于脊椎)或由其它部位如前列腺、肺和乳房扩散而来。

图2 脊椎肿瘤

  • 脊椎外伤


Spine and Spinal Disorders - Symptoms

​Signs vary with each individual and type of spinal disorder.

A person may experience:

  • Neck and back stiffness or pain
  • Pain running down arms and legs
  • Numbness or weakness of the arms and legs
  • Muscle spasms
  • Headache
  • Unsteadiness




  • 颈部疼痛、僵硬
  • 手脚疼痛
  • 手脚麻痹、无力
  • 肌肉抽筋
  • 头痛
  • 步态不稳

Spine and Spinal Disorders - How to prevent?

Spine and Spinal Disorders - Causes and Risk Factors

Spine and Spinal Disorders - Diagnosis

​These degenerative disorders are diagnosed through physical examination and confirmed by imaging studies including x-rays and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). The images may indicate abnormalities and reveal the extent of damage to the spine.


这些退行性疾病通过体检诊断,并经包括X光和核磁共振成像 (Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)) 在内的影像研究确诊。这些图像可以提示异常,并展现脊椎受损的程度。

Spine and Spinal Disorders - Treatments

  • ​Degenerative Disease of the Spine (Spondylosis)

Treatment in most cases consists of conservative methods such as:

  • Medication
    • The doctor may prescribe medication to relieve pain or muscle spasm.
  • Physical Therapy and Activity Modication
    • Hot/cold therapy, injections or an active exercise programme may help to relieve symptoms. Exercises
      can improve muscle strength and flexibility.
    • Adopt a good posture and avoid staying in the same position for prolonged periods of time.
    • Practice proper lifting techniques and avoid bending at the waist level.

Intervention is required for more severe symptoms or failure to respond to therapy:

  • Injection Therapy
    • This involves injection which may help reduce pain.
  • Surgical Treatment
    • Surgery may be necessary if pain does not improve or when there are progressive neurological symptoms.
  • Tumours of the Spine

Treatment depends on the patient’s condition, extent of tumour and severity of symptoms.

Surgical decompression to relieve spinal cord or nerve pressure may be needed to obtain relief from symptoms. Additional procedures may be needed to stabilise the spine. Further treatment with radiotherapy and chemotherapy may also be necessary.

  • Spinal Trauma

Surgery is needed in cases where the spine is unstable or when there is a bone fragment, blood clot or ruptured disc pressing on the spinal cord or nerve roots.


  • 脊椎退行性疾病 (Spondylosis)


  • 药物治疗
    • 医生可能会开药帮助患者缓解疼痛和减少肿胀。使用肌肉松弛剂也可能有效。
  • 物理治疗和活动更改
    • 热/冷疗、注射或参加积极的运动计划可能有助于缓解症状。 运动可以提高肌肉力量和灵活。
    • 要有好的坐姿,避免长时间在同一个姿势。
    • 用适当的姿势搬抬重物。


  • 神经或部分阻断技术
    • 包括注射类固醇或射频损毁治疗,这将有助于减轻或消除疼痛。
  • 外科治疗
    • 如果其它治疗方法没有改善疼痛,或有行进性神经症状时,可考虑动手术。
  • 脊椎肿瘤


  • 脊椎外伤


Spine and Spinal Disorders - Preparing for surgery

Spine and Spinal Disorders - Post-surgery care

Spine and Spinal Disorders - Other Information

​Download Spine and Spinal Disorders brochure


The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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