Treating a herniated disc in the neck

Herniated disc neck treatment can involve a number of different methods, each with the goal of relieving symptoms of nerve compression if they occur. A herniated disc is happens when one of the shock absorbing spinal discs develops a tear in the outer layer and pressure from the surrounding vertebrae causes the inner disc material to be pushed out into the spinal column. This can happen as a result of injury or from age-related breakdown as the discs become less able to withstand the weight placed upon them.

It is possible to have a herniated disc without knowing it since symptoms usually occur only if displaced disc material compresses a nerve in the spine. Most patients are diagnosed with and seek treatment for a herniated disc in the neck when they experience local and radiating symptoms that do not go away after a few days to a week.

If pain and other debilitating symptoms from a herniated disc are taking you away from people and activities you love, knowing about the full range of treatments can help you and your doctor develop a plan with the best chance of getting you back to a full, active life.

Conservative herniated disc neck treatment

Upon diagnosing a herniated disc in the neck, most physicians will first recommend a course of conservative treatment to manage symptoms. It is possible for a herniated disc to repair itself with time, so the goal of most herniated disc treatment is to ease discomfort, restore mobility and create a healthy environment to see if symptoms improve. Many physician-prescribed care plans include methods such as:

  • Physical therapy
  • Exercise
  • Pain medication
  • Massage
  • Periods of rest
  • Lifestyle changes like quitting smoking or losing weight

Some patients will also attempt complementary or alternative treatments like acupuncture, yoga or chiropractic adjustment to find pain relief.

Surgical treatment

However, if you do not achieve neck pain relief after weeks or months of conservative treatment for a herniated disc in the neck, surgery might start to become an option. Decompression surgery to relieve stress on a nerve root has traditionally involved the removal of a large portion or all of the herniated disc which is causing symptoms. Disc replacement, spinal fusion and other major procedures can mean a long hospital stay and a lengthy recuperation when performed as traditional open spine procedures.

For patients concerned about the complications associated with traditional open neck or back surgery, Laser Spine Institute offers an alternative. The surgeons at Laser Spine Institute perform minimally invasive decompression procedures as well as, in severe cases, minimally invasive stabilization fusion procedures that offer patients an outpatient experience that leads to a shorter recovery time.^

Contact Laser Spine Institute for a no-cost MRI review* to see if you may be a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.