Neck Surgery

Evaluating Neck Surgery Options?

Determining whether you need neck surgery is usually an empirical question.  Sometimes surgery is absolutely mandatory, such as if you have spinal cord compression with signal changes, and clinical signs of upper motor neuron lesions.  But most surgery is elective, because the person hasn’t been able to get enough relief from non-surgical treatments and has to then seek surgical treatment for relief. So you have to try whatever non-surgical treatments are available. Unfortunately, for really bad neck and/or arm pain, usual chiropractic or physical therapy treatments don’t help. And then epidural steroid injections may not work either.

Is There Neck Pain Relief Without Surgery?

Unfortunately, the most direct and effective treatment for the common neck problems of degenerated and herniated discs and arthritis- the common cause of neck pain- is not commonly used.  These common, painful pathologies, above, which give rise to about 98% of neck pain, are compressive lesions, by their nature.  The most direct, and therefore, effective neck pain treatment for these compressive lesions, is to decompress the neck, using spinal decompression treatment.

Since I’ve worked in orthopedic, physical medicine, physical therapy and neurosurgical practices, I know the relative merits of various treatments, and for non-surgical treatment, spinal decompression is the most effective treatment.

When is Neck Surgery Necessary?

But if you do need surgical treatment, the common reason for surgery is disc-osteophyte lesions with pinched nerves causing radiating pain down the arm.  These are degenerative changes involving the disc and joints and nerves.  The common surgery for this is removal of herniated dics material and a fusion of two or more vertebra.  You can watch such surgery on youtube.  There are other, less common types of cervical surgery, but probably 90% of surgery is this anterior interbody fusions.

If we can help you try to avoid surgery for your neck, or if you want a second opinion about whether you need neck surgery, please call 404-558-4015.