Do not underestimate neck pain!

Pain in the neck is a complaint that is quite common in society. The pain is followed by stiffness in the neck and is sometimes accompanied by pain that radiates from the shoulder to the arm and fingers. The most common cause is muscle spasms due to wrong body position, such as working too long at the computer. This neck pain condition is most common in women than men. Mild complaints usually get better with medication and rest, but about 10% of complaints in sufferers become chronic.


Anatomically, the neck has a structure in the form of cervical bones and soft tissues such as muscles, ligaments, and discs. If there is injury or disease in these tissues will result in pain in the neck.

Some of the causes of neck pain include:

  1. HNP (Hernia Nucleus Pulposus) Cervical.
    The occurrence of nerve compression due to disc herniation.
  1. Cervical Osteoarthritis.
    Calcification or inflammation of the cervical facet joints.
  1. Cervical Stenosis.
    The reduced diameter of the cervical canal is due to degenerative changes in the surrounding tissue structures such as ossification of the posterior ligament or thickening of the ligamentum flavum.


Neck pain is often described as dull or aching. It can also be pain like a sharp, stabbing pain. The pain is exacerbated by movement of the neck so that the neck becomes stiff.

  1. Radiating pain.
    Pain is felt like an electric current or electric shock that radiates from the shoulder, and arm to the fingers.
  1. Disorders of nerve function.
    Complaints are in the form of tingling or numbness in the arms and fingers. In more severe conditions, there is weakness in the legs, both hands, and feet, so it feels heavy when used for activities.


Beginning with a complete physical examination of the neck, arms, and legs. Examination, among others, to determine the flexibility of neck movement, neck range of motion, and signs of irritation of the suspected neck nerve branches. The patient will also be mapped areas on the body that feel tingling, numbness, or weakness according to the dermatome and motor nerve areas.

Investigations that can be carried out include conventional X-Ray examinations, CT scans, and MRIs.


After knowing the diagnosis or cause of neck pain, several therapeutic options can be made, including:

  1. Conservative therapy.
    • Physiotherapy
    • Cold/ice or heat therapy.
    • Cervical injection.
    • Drugs.
    • Physical training.
  1. Surgical therapy.
    If conservative treatment doesn't work or the complaint persists/worsens, the action that can be taken is surgery. Depending on the cause of neck pain, for example, a pinched nerve, nerve decompression can be performed with a variety of surgical techniques ranging from minimally invasive or endoscopy.

The article was written by dr. I Made Buddy Setiawan, M.Biomed, Sp.OT(K)Spine (Orthopedic & Traumatology Specialist Spine Consultant at EMC Sentul Hospital).