Q: I have had three slipped discs in various parts of my spine over the past decade.
I've been keeping the pain at bay with painkillers and regular physiotherapy. While my condition is manageable at the moment, I'm concerned that it will worsen when I get older. What are my options?
The management of slipped discs depends on the clinical severity. If it is merely back pain and does not involve the legs, one may manage it conservatively via modification of lifestyle, physiotherapy, and acupuncture.
If the symptoms involve the legs, it may mean the slipped disc has worsened, leading to compression of the nerves, then a repeat MRI will need to be performed to see any interval worsening.
If the MRI confirms interval worsening, surgery may then be considered in view of the chronicity of symptoms as well as the interval worsening.
Answer provided by Adjunct Associate Professor Hee Hwan Tak, Singapore Medical Group's Medical Director, SMG Orthopaedic Group and Centre for Spine & Scoliosis Surgery