Many people suffering from neck pain can find relief through conservative treatment methods such as medication or physical therapy. However, when these options are not effective, surgery may be the only way to fix the problem once and for all. Here are some ways to tell whether you may be better served by considering surgery for your neck issue.
When Surgery for Neck Pain Is Recommended
At Advanced Spine and Orthopedics, we will always try to treat neck pain through non-surgical means first. However, there are times when surgery will be the best option to bring about permanent relief. For example, if your pain is due to a nerve that is being pinched by either a bone spur or a disc that has herniated or ruptured, surgery could bring you either significant or total relief from your pain. Surgery is also often needed when pressure is being placed on the spinal cord. If your vertebrae are grinding together due to degenerative disc disease, you should seriously consider having a surgical procedure performed.
Common Types of Surgery for Neck Pain
Our doctors perform two main types of surgery for neck pain: anterior cervical discectomy and laminectomy. The first procedure relieves neck pain due to a herniated disc that pinches a nerve. The second is designed to relieve pressure, either on the spinal cord or nerve roots. Bony plates located near the vertebrae (known as the laminae) are designed to protect the spinal cord. However, in some instances, they can pinch nerves and cause serious discomfort. A laminectomy can eliminate pain and pressure.
Most patients who undergo one of these procedures typically stay in the hospital for about a week and then wear a neck brace until the area is completely healed. Recovery usually takes about five weeks, but patients need to avoid excessive lifting or exertion for several months after surgery.