Neck pain is a common problem that can have many causes, and it can be difficult to know if you need neck surgery. Sometimes, non-invasive treatments such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, or other therapies can effectively resolve the issue.
There are some conditions, however, where surgery may be the best option. Some conditions that may require surgery include:
Herniated discs: This is a common condition in the neck or back. A herniated disc occurs when the outer layer of the spinal disc ruptures or slips out of place. This can lead to pressure on a nerve, leading to pain, numbness, and tingling in the affected area.
Degenerative Disc Disease: Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a condition that occurs when spinal discs break down over time, leading to pain and stiffness in the neck or back.
Spinal Stenosis: Spinal stenosis occurs when the spaces in the spine narrow, putting pressure on the spinal cord and leading to pain, numbness, and tingling in the arms or legs.
Bone Spurs: Bone spurs are small, bony growths that can form on the bones of the spine. They can occur when the bones in the spine rub against each other, leading to pain, stiffness, and damage to nerves and surrounding tissue.
Neck Injury: An injury from a fall, an automobile accident, sports activity, or other cause may require surgical treatment, even if the injury occurred years before.
If you are experiencing pain, numbness, weakness, or other symptoms, particularly if symptoms are not improving or getting worse, it is important to speak with a doctor to see if surgery might be the best course of action.
J. Patrick Johnson, MD is a renowned neurosurgeon specializing in spinal disorders and has served as the Director of the Institute for Spinal Disorders at Cedars Sinai Medical Center since 2001 and previously as the Director of the UCLA Comprehensive Spine Center from 1993-2001.
This article is offered as informational only and not to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.