How is a herniated disc in the neck treated?

A herniated disc in the neck occurs when a disc is damaged due to pressure from surrounding vertebrae in the cervical spine (neck).

The symptoms of a herniated disc only occur when the damaged disc presses on a nearby nerve root, causing pain and numbness to radiate from the neck and into the shoulder and arms. Based on the severity of the condition, your physician may recommend conservative or surgical treatment for pain relief. You should always consult your physician or spine care specialist before beginning any type of pain medication or treatment regimen for neck or back pain to prevent injury.

Nonsurgical treatment methods for a herniated disc in the neck

The first method of treatment prescribed by your physician will most likely be a regimen of conservative therapies. These treatments will be picked based on the severity of your condition, your medical history and your general lifestyle.

The most common treatments for a cervical herniated disc:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen to reduce inflammation and relieve pain in your neck
  • Physical therapy to strengthen and stretch the muscles and ligaments that support the neck
  • Thermotherapy (applying a heating pad) to relieve muscle tension
  • Cryotherapy (applying ice) to reduce inflammation and numb pain
  • Making lifestyle changes such as losing weight or quitting smoking to improve your overall health

Several conservative treatments can be combined to expedite your pain relief. You should always consult your physician before you begin or change treatments to ensure your safety and health throughout your healing process.

Surgical treatment for a herniated disc

If undergoing nonsurgical treatments for several weeks or months produces little to no pain relief, your physician may advise you to undergo spine surgery.

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive discectomy and stabilization surgery to relieve pressure on the affected nerve root in the neck. These procedures can remove a small portion of the herniated disc or the entire disc and insert an artificial one in its place. Because of the minimally invasive techniques used, our patients experience a shorter recovery time^ and higher patient satisfaction score than traditional open neck surgery.

If your physician recommends surgical treatment for the herniated disc in your neck, consider a minimally invasive procedure as an alternative to open spine surgery. Contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more.

Browse Related Resources