Cervical Spine Surgery: 3 Reasons To Consider Surgery For A Herniated Disc

  • Orthopedic Surgeon - Spine Specialist
  • back pain
  • October 5, 2021

Herniated discs can cause neck and back pain. Nonsurgical treatments may work, but some patients need to consider cervical spine surgery.

What Is A Herniated Disc?

In the spine, small, spongy discs provide cushioning between the bones. Each of these discs acts as a shock absorber and aids in flexibility. But sometimes, these discs may bulge or break open. This is known as a herniated disc. The result can be intense pain and even numbness or weakness in the spine. When the herniated disc is in the neck, people may experience numbness or tingling down the arms. Nonsurgical treatments may help, but many people need cervical spine surgery.

viralmd connect Cervical Spine Surgery: 3 Reasons To Consider Surgery For A Herniated Disc

What nonsurgical options do I have?

Orthopedic specialists typically use a few treatments before suggesting surgery. Steroid injections, massage, physical therapy, and hot and cold therapy are a few options. For many people, simple stretches and a few months of physical therapy can significantly improve pain. For others, if these interventions fail to bring relief, surgery may be the best option. Consider these 3 reasons to choose cervical spine surgery.

1. You’ve been at it for a while

In general, healthcare providers recommend trying nonsurgical treatment for about 6 weeks. Many people try for much longer, even for years. However, if it has been more than a few months, start the conversation about surgery. Many people who finally have spine surgery regret not scheduling the procedure sooner.

2. The results don’t lie

Surgery isn’t a cure-all for everyone. But most people do experience pain relief benefits. And surgery works more quickly than other treatments. This is particularly true if someone takes the time to also do physical therapy or rehab. People who work desk jobs can usually return to work within 2-4 weeks after surgery. Those who have more active jobs will need to wait until the 6-8-week mark.

3. Risks are generally low

For patients who are otherwise healthy, the risks of surgery are generally low. Every surgery carries some risk of infection or other complications. However, surgery for a herniated disc is successful in about 95% of cases. Most people experience a significant improvement in mobility, comfort, and quality of life.

When should I see my healthcare provider?

Some minor cases of back or neck pain get better with rest, ice, and stretching. But if pain has persisted for more than a week or two without improvement, see a healthcare provider. A healthcare provider can recommend more assertive treatment options, up to and possibly including surgery. For more information, speak with a healthcare provider.

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