Methods of treating a herniated disc in the neck

A herniated disc in the neck, or cervical spine, may cause patients to experience pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness in the upper back, shoulders and arms in addition to local neck pain. These symptoms can have an extremely negative impact on your life and normal activity, especially if they persist for months or even years.

While many are able to relieve these symptoms through the use of conservative, nonsurgical treatments, they aren’t always effective. Surgery can become a serious option if other methods do not bring the relief necessary for a healthy and active lifestyle. The following information can give you a better understanding of the treatments available and how to know when surgery may be your best choice.

Conservative treatments

After a physician diagnoses a herniated disc in the neck, an initial course of basic conservative treatments will usually be recommended. Relieving the symptoms of a herniated disc and other spinal conditions is often a process of trial and error, as not all treatments are guaranteed to work for every patient. Some common treatments for herniated discs include:

  • Periods of rest
  • Applying hot and cold compresses to the area
  • Medication, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, pain medication, muscle relaxants and epidural steroid injections
  • Physical therapy, which can include strength training, massage, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and posture modification
  • Lifestyle changes like eating better, quitting smoking or becoming more physically active

Alternative therapies

Some patients elect to complement their physician-prescribed treatments with alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, deep tissue massage and chiropractic manipulation, among others. Patients should use caution when selecting alternative therapies and should always consult their physician to ensure complementary remedies do not interfere with primary treatments.

Laser Spine Institute

If several weeks or months of conservative treatment fail to provide meaningful relief from the symptoms of a herniated disc in the neck, your doctor may refer you to an orthopedic spine surgeon for a consultation. Before electing to undergo highly invasive traditional open spine surgery, which can involve a large incision and an overnight hospital stay, contact Laser Spine Institute. We perform minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery that offers patients less risk of complication and a shorter recovery time compared to traditional procedures.

To learn more, and to find out if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures, reach out to our caring and dedicated team to get your no-cost MRI review today.*

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