For many individuals facing neck pain, the thought of surgery can be daunting. While surgery is typically considered a last resort, it can be immensely beneficial for specific spinal conditions. In this article, Dr Timothy Ehn will discuss the circumstances under which surgery may be recommended to provide relief from neck pain.
When Conservative Treatments Fail
Dr Timothy Ehn Surgery is often recommended when conservative treatments, such as physical therapy, medications, and lifestyle modifications, have not alleviated the neck pain. If there is no improvement after working with a healthcare provider to manage the pain through non-surgical treatments over an extended period, surgery might become the next step.
Nerve Compression or Spinal Cord Issues
In instances where neck pain is caused by compression on spinal nerves or the spinal cord, surgery may be recommended. This nerve compression can cause radiating pain, numbness, tingling sensations, and muscle weakness in the arms and hands, which significantly affects the quality of life. Common conditions that involve nerve compression include:
Cervical Herniated Disc
A cervical herniated disc is a condition in which the gel-like center of a spinal disc protrudes outwards, causing pressure on surrounding nerves. In this case, a cervical discectomy or disc replacement surgery could be the chosen solution.
Spinal stenosis occurs when the spaces in the spinal canal narrows, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots. In such cases, a cervical decompression or cervical laminoplasty might be necessary to create more space and alleviate the pressure.
Cervical spondylosis is age-related wear and tear that affects the spinal discs in your neck. When conservative treatments fall short of managing chronic pain and neurological symptoms, surgery may be recommended.
Presence of Instability
Dr Timothy Ehn If there is instability in the cervical spine due to conditions like spinal fractures or tumors, surgery might be necessary to correct the alignment and offer stability. This type of surgery may involve spinal fusion or a procedure to insert screws, rods, or plates to stabilize the spine.