Everything You Need to Know About Neck Pain

Posted on: 18 February 2021

Most neck pain is experienced on the back, left or right side of the neck. You might also feel some pain in your shoulders or upper back and pain that radiates to your arm. Of course, your first reaction would be to visit your general practitioner, which is the right thing to do.

The general practitioner is trained to examine or assess you and, based on what they find, offer treatment or refer you to another doctor for specialised care.

What Entails the Examination?

Your doctor may use their hands to feel and press on your neck while noting your responses. Expect to be asked various questions like when the pain started, what activity you were doing, whether there are any other symptoms, when the pain worsens, etc. Be as detailed as possible to help your doctor make the correct diagnosis. The doctor may further request a neck X-ray, ultrasound, MRI or CT scan for better visualisation.

Receiving Treatment from Your General Doctor

If your general doctor discovers that your neck pain is from a minor muscle strain, they can offer home remedy instructions like icing, resting and simple neck massages and exercises. Ointment or oral pain medication may also be recommended.

A Referral to Another Doctor

If your general doctor discovers that you have a moderate to a serious neck injury, or they cannot identify why you are experiencing neck pain, you might be referred to an orthopaedic surgeon (orthopaedist). Further tests like blood tests, spinal taps (lumbar puncture) and EMG (Electromyography) may also be conducted, but this is when the tests mentioned above are inconclusive. An EMG is a test carried out to measure the speed of your nerve conductivity. If your pain seems to be coming from your spine, you might be referred to a chiropractor.


Treatment depends on your diagnosis. You may be treated via oral or ointment medication or therapy (massage, electrical stimulation, stretches, exercises and temporary immobilisation). Some patients may require surgery or steroid injections.

If you are required to see a chiropractor, bone-cracking may be involved to align your spine.


If your general doctor can treat you, meaning you have a minor neck injury/problem, costs will be lower. However, if you need specialised care, your medical bill might rack up. You might need your medical insurance, especially if you have to undergo multiple expensive tests and surgery.

For more information on treating neck pain, contact a local medical health professional.