Herniated Disc Neck Treatment

Physicians tend to recommend a conservative course of action with regard to bulging discs in the neck (and back). If the issue is a herniated disc then intervention, through cervical spine surgery, is likely to be advised. Reducing inflammation through heat and ice packs can help in herniated disc neck treatment, along with natural anti-inflammatories, steroid injections, and NSAIDs.

Another available herniated disc neck treatment option is non-surgical spinal disc decompression. Similar to traction, but more advanced and successful as a treatment option, this involves slowly separating discs that have become compressed. As the discs are gently pulled apart this creates a vacuum allowing vital nutrients and oxygen to enter the area of damage and begin the healing process. Doing this slowly and oscillating between pulling and relaxing also downgrades the likelihood of spasming of the supportive surrounding musculature which can impair long term outcomes of this treatment. The vacuum created also serves to ‘suck’ the herniated disc’s gelatinous center back into the correct position, allowing the outer fibers of the disc to heal without the pressure of compressed material.

Herniated Disc Surgery

Herniated Disc Surgery

Surgical intervention may be necessary, however, with the possibility of spinal fusion or artificial disc insertion. Initially a discectomy will be performed. This is where the damaged disc is removed, and may also involve the removal of any osteophytes which are exacerbating the stenotic condition of the cervical spine. Decompression of the spine will also occur during the surgery, allowing the cervical nerves and blood vessels to function properly and begin attempts at repair. Spinal fusion may be conducted, by using bone grafts and metal plates and screws to create a bond between vertebrae, thereby stabilizing the portion of the spine and providing relief from pain. Insertion of an artificial disc may provide an alternative option for structural support and pain relief after a discectomy. Known as spinal arthroplasty, this procedure is conducted through the anterior neck (accessing the spine from the front), and, depending on the patient’s physical condition, should have a fairly short recovery time. Most patients are up and walking about the day after surgery.

Along with the usual risk of complications with any surgery, spinal arthroplasty has the added risk of allergic reaction to the implant material, or the movement of the artificial disc after surgery. The disc itself is made of stainless steel, and is closely matched to the patient’s natural vertebral size and shape. The disc should allow the usual range of movement of the spine. Arthropalsty is not suitable for those with more than one area of disc herniation; spinal fusion may be the more appropriate surgical option if there are several types of this spine condition present. All in all herniated disc neck treatment by conservative means should be attempted before any surgery is considered

Last Updated: 04/08/2011