A Comprehensive Guide to Treating Neck Pain

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The neck is a very sensitive part of the body that joins the head and the torso and is made out of bones, muscles, nerves, and other components. Neck is where all the nerves are located and by any sort of injury the whole system may be affected. It is important to take care of your neck so that you don’t end up having pain or any injury. Luckily, we got the means to relieve neck pain with the help of an experienced orthopaedic surgeon.

An Introduction to Neck Pain

Neck pain can result from either an accident or non-injury conditions, including poor working ergonomics. Inadequate adjustability of computer monitors and chairs, along with inappropriate monitor positioning, frequently compels people to work with their necks at unpleasant angles. This problem becomes more severe when an underlying neck ailment is present, which frequently results in neck strains. Over time, muscular fatigue develops, resulting in neck pain and other symptoms.


The Various Causes of Neck Pain

Neck pain can have three major causes:

  • Muscular pain develops when the neck muscles are overused. It frequently feels like an ache or cramp in the back of the neck, shoulders, and upper back.
  • Discal discomfort is caused by the cartilage between two bones in the spinal column. If the outer section tears, it can cause severe discomfort and possibly disc problems.
  • Facet joint discomfort develops as the spine’s joints, known as facet joints, wear out. This can lead to neck pain ranging from minor to severe.

Common Symptoms Associated with Neck Pain

A neck pain can manifest with a lot of symptoms, and people may perceive them very differently. Compression of nerves in the neck region will lead to the pain shooting down the arms with the electric current like sensation, typically induced by neck movements, and is a common condition referred to as radicular pain. The numbness and weakness of the arm or hand are a result of the nerve compression, which reduces the sensation of the hand and the arm mobility. The spinal cord compression can produce tingling, burning, or crawling sensation (syndrome known as paraesthesia) as well. Severe narrowing of the subcortical cervical spinal cord can squeeze it and distort normal activity, which may cause difficulties with hand coordination. In the worst case scenario, patients can experience clumsiness while walking, or myelopathy, especially when they are not steady on their feet, thus the risk of falling and injuries is increased.


Exploring Surgical and Nonsurgical Treatments for Neck Pain

Regarding neck pain management, the treatment of the underlying disease is critical, and orthopaedic surgeons apply a variety of surgical and non-surgical methods to help alleviate the neck pain. The pharmaceutical approach is mainly achieved through the use of medications that reduce the pain in the neck, shoulder, and arm, together with lifestyle changes, and ergonomic guidance that is specific to the treatment of work-related neck pain. One of the ways the neck muscle physiotherapy can be used is to increase neck strength, enhance function, and relieve symptoms. Furthermore, options for medicinal treatment are provided to cure the root causes of neck pain and in some cases, surgery is carried out to ease the constriction of nerves and stabilize a cervical spine that is deteriorating.

Nurturing Your Neck: Essential Tips for Neck Health

To keep away from neck strains and injuries, use good posture while walking, sitting, and performing daily activities. You may be prone to neck strain if you slump, since it may create discomfort and pain in your neck. You can also do it right by keeping your shoulders, head, and back in the right position all the time and by giving yourself a rest and a change of position, especially if you have to sit or stand for long periods. Make sure you choose the right sleeping position, too; pick a pillow that maintains the natural curve of your neck and upper back so that you won’t have any pain due to misalignment when sleeping. Besides, as a sportsman, upper back and neck stretches on a regular basis can be really helpful to release the tension and reduce the probability of injuries. As the case may be, you should include some exercises that will help you in this process.

When to Seek Medical Attention for Neck Pain

If you are experiencing severe neck pain as a result of an injury such as a vehicle accident, diving event, or fall, you should seek medical assistance immediately. This type of injury does not resolve with mere bedrest or home treatments. In other circumstances, if your neck pain is not caused by an accident, you should see an orthopaedic surgeon if it persists despite treatment with pain medications.

Furthermore, if the pain spreads to your arms or legs, or if it is accompanied by symptoms such as headaches, numbness, weakness, or tingling, you should seek medical attention and treatment. You will undergo a medical evaluation or interview, diagnostic testing (X-rays or MRIs) so that your orthopaedic surgeon can create a treatment plan for you.


Neck Pain Surgery: When Is It Necessary?

When conservative or standard therapy fails to relieve neck pain, surgery is considered. This treatment may be explored if the patient’s functionality and mobility deteriorate owing to chronic pain. Furthermore, surgery is required when the patient develops severe neurological symptoms affecting their limbs and loses the capacity to walk and maintain their balance. In such circumstances, surgery is regarded as a viable option for treating the underlying causes of neck discomfort and enhancing the patient’s quality of life.

What to Expect in Follow-Up Care After Neck Pain Surgery

When neck pain is successfully managed with non-surgical, conservative treatments, the follow-up is often on an as-needed basis, with patients encouraged to contact us if their symptoms recur or worsen. However, for people who have surgery to treat neck pain, the follow-up process is frequent. Each surgical technique requires unique post-operative care and monitoring. This individualized approach guarantees that patients receive the necessary attention and support to help them recover and optimize the outcomes of their surgical intervention.


Questions To Ask Your Orthopaedic Surgeon

When dealing with neck pain, talking with an orthopaedic surgeon is a critical step toward appropriate treatment and alleviation. To get the most out of your appointment and ensure you have a thorough understanding of your issue and potential treatments, ask the proper questions.

What is causing my neck pain?

What are my neck pain treatment choices, and which strategy would you recommend depending on my specific condition? Am I an appropriate candidate for this treatment?

Are there any non-surgical options that might be considered before undergoing surgery?

What is the likely outcome of the proposed treatment, and what are the potential risks or complications?

Can you explain the post-operative care plan if surgery is recommended, including the expected recovery time?


What are the causes of neck pain?

Neck pain can be caused by various factors, including muscular strain from overwork, tears in the intervertebral discs (discal pain), and wear and tear of facet joints in the spine (facet joint pain).

What are the symptoms of neck pain?

Symptoms associated with neck pain can vary but commonly include shooting pain down the arms (radicular pain), arm or hand numbness and weakness, tingling or burning sensations (paraesthesia), and in severe cases, coordination issues and unsteadiness while walking (myelopathy).

What are treatments for neck pain?

Treatments for neck pain encompass a range of options, including medications to alleviate pain, lifestyle modifications, ergonomic adjustments for workplace-related neck pain, neck muscle physiotherapy, pain procedures targeting the root causes, and in some cases, surgical interventions to release pinched nerves and stabilize a degenerated cervical spine.

What is the best treatment for neck pain?

The best treatment for neck pain depends on the specific underlying cause and the individual patient’s condition. Conservative treatments such as medications, physiotherapy, and lifestyle modifications are often the first-line approach. However, surgical intervention may be necessary in cases where conservative methods prove ineffective or when there are severe neurological symptoms.

When should I seek medical attention for neck pain?

Seek immediate medical attention for neck pain if it results from a severe injury like a car accident, diving incident, or fall, as these injuries often require urgent medical evaluation. In other cases where neck pain is not due to an injury, it’s essential to contact an orthopaedic surgeon if you have chronic neck pain that persists despite trying pain relief medications or if it is accompanied by symptoms like headaches, numbness, weakness, or tingling, as these signs warrant a thorough medical evaluation and appropriate care.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557555/#
  2. https://www.methodisthealthsystem.org/press-releases/2021/may/tips-for-taking-extra-care-of-your-neck/
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/neck-pain/symptoms-causes/syc-20375581
  4. https://www.theorthopaedicandpainpractice.com/service/neck-pain/

Dr Yong Ren’s Profile

Dr Yong Ren graduated from the National University of Singapore’s Medical faculty and embarked on his orthopaedic career soon after. Upon completion of his training locally, he served briefly as an orthopaedic trauma surgeon in Khoo Teck Puat hospital before embarking on sub-specialty training in Switzerland at the famed Inselspital in Bern.

He underwent sub-specialty training in pelvic and spinal surgery, and upon his return to Singapore served as head of the orthopaedic trauma team till 2019. He continues to serve as Visiting Consultant to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.

Well versed in a variety of orthopaedic surgeries, he also served as a member of the country council for the local branch of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Osteosynthesefragen (Trauma) in Singapore. He was also involved in the training of many of the young doctors in Singapore and was appointed as an Assistant Professor by the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. Prior to his entry into the private sector, he also served as core faculty for orthopaedic resident training by the National Healthcare Group.

Dr Yong Ren brings to the table his years of experience as a teacher and trainer in orthopaedic surgery. With his expertise in minimally invasive fracture surgery, pelvic reconstructive surgery, hip and knee surgery as well as spinal surgery, he is uniquely equipped with the tools and expertise necessary to help you on your road to recovery.

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Sarah Taylor

Obstetrics & Gynaecology