Neck, shoulder and back pain

Why do I have neck, shoulder and back pain?

Neck, shoulder and back pain are interlinked to health issues concerning the condition of the spine. This is because the pain in these regions affects different parts of the spine-the cervical and lumbar spine.

What are the symptoms?

Pain in the neck, shoulder and back can prevent an individual from moving freely and engaging in activities that make them happy. Furthermore, the individual's quality of life will decline, which can interfere with their normal functioning.

Symptoms include:

Disabling pain in the lower back

Persistently dull or sudden pain in the back

Numbness below the knee

A stiff spine

A dull ache in the centre of the back


Loss of bladder function

How do you treat neck, shoulder and back pain?

Back and neck pain can improve with rest. Over-the-counter prescription medication can help relieve the discomfort caused. Before surgery, Dr Bomela can consider several different treatments such as hot and cold packs to target areas of inflammation and physical therapy to strengthen the back and abdominal muscles. Additional forms of therapy include corticosteroid injections, bracing, acupuncture, nerve block injections and osteopathic manipulation.

Back pain normally gets better slowly, even without surgical procedures. Surgeries for cervical radiculopathy, spinal cord compression, and a cervical fracture (broken neck) are performed due to immobility and debilitating pain. Spinal fusion is performed to fuse the ends of the vertebrae to enhance spinal stability. Fusion surgery is done to strengthen an unstable, weakened area of the spine. Dr Bomela can eliminate pain in these regions by fusing the bones' ends. Metal plates and screws are utilised to secure the ends of the vertebrae to reduce pain in the area.

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is surgery that removes material that compresses the nerves of the spine. First, an incision is made over the anterior of the neck where bone spurs are removed. Afterwards, spinal fusion complements the procedure.

The same technique can be applied to address chronic back pain. For example, a laminectomy is a surgery to correct lumbar spinal stenosis. However, after the procedure, the spine is not as stable as it used to be. Fortunately, spinal fusion can help stabilise and strengthen the spine after treating the condition.


1. When should I consult with Dr Bomela concerning neck, shoulder and back pain?

You need to consult with Dr Bomela when you experience disabling pain that prevents you from carrying out your daily activities. She will also refer the patient for an individualised rehabilitation program to strengthen the back muscles.

2. How do I know I need surgery?

Dr Bomela will consider performing surgery when you experience the following symptoms:

  • Loss of bladder function
  • Weakness in the leg
  • Prolonged neck and back pain that does not decrease with rest and medicine
  • A pins and needles sensation in the lower limbs

3. How does shoulder pain arise?

Shoulder pain may arise due to an issue with the nerves of the cervical spine that control motor function. For example, a bone spur or spinal disc can affect these nerves, causing pain that moves to the shoulders and arms, referred to as radiculopathy.