The seven vertebrae in the neck, known as the C1-C7, along with the facet joints and intervertebral discs, are responsible for supporting the weight of the head while providing the neck with its range of motion. This clearly strains the small vertebrae in the cervical (upper) spine, making them susceptible to damage from both injury and regular wear. A certain amount of spinal degeneration is an unavoidable part of the aging process, though sometimes this deterioration can lead to nerve compression and neck pain.
Like the vertebrae in the lumbar (lower) and thoracic (middle) spine segments, the C1-C7 vertebrae are cushioned by spongy intervertebral discs, or pads, that act as shock absorbers. Each vertebra also comes equipped with facet joints on the top and bottom, which connect the vertebrae together, giving the spine its strength and stability.
A variety of problems can arise in the C1-C7 vertebrae, leading to pain, discomfort and possibly cervical disc surgery, such as:
- Spinal stenosis
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated or bulged discs
- Pinched nerves
- And many more
In most normal cases, the symptoms of these conditions can be managed with a conservative treatment plan. Rest, physical therapy and pain medication are all typically used to treat neck and back pain, but occasionally a more aggressive treatment is required. In this case, the topic of disc surgery may be recommended by a physician.
While the decision to undergo neck surgery should not be taken lightly, Laser Spine Institute can help make the choice a little easier. Our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures can treat many of the problems that arise in the C1-C7 discs and vertebrae without the lengthy recovery, rehabilitation and hospitalization required with traditional open neck surgery.
For your MRI or CT scan review, and for more information about minimally invasive cervical spine procedures, contact the staff at Laser Spine Institute today.