Conservative and Surgical Treatment Options for Herniated Discs in the Neck
How to Treat a Herniated Disc in the Neck
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 plan for neck or back pain to prevent injury.
Herniated Disc Treatment: Nonsurgical Methods
The first method of treatment prescribed by your physician will most likely be a course 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
- Lifestyle changes — such as losing weight or quitting smoking to improve 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.
Herniated Disc Treatment: Surgical Methods
If undergoing nonsurgical treatments for several weeks or months produces little to no pain relief for your neck, your physician may advise you to undergo spine surgery as herniated disc treatment.
At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive discectomy and stabilization surgery to relieve pressure on the affected nerve root in the neck. During these procedures, our surgeons can remove a small portion of the herniated disc or the entire disc and then use bone grafts and surgical implants to fill in the empty disc space. Because of the minimally invasive techniques used, our patients experience a shorter recovery time than with traditional open neck surgery.^ Contact Laser Spine Institute lo learn more about our minimally invasive procedures.