If you’ve been living with neck pain, you may believe that surgery is your best option for a chance at feeling relief. However, before going through with a decision as serious as this, it’s important to determine whether surgery is actually the most effective way to treat your neck pain. As medical technology develops and our understanding of the spine increases, more options for treating neck pain that may be more effective are uncovered and are worth considering.
Understanding when neck pain is serious
It’s crucial to have an understanding of when neck pain is the result of a serious condition, such as cervical disc degeneration or cervical disc herniation versus non-serious, such as a normal sign of aging. In order to make this distinction, however, you need to have an understanding of the major symptoms of these issues.
Symptoms of cervical disc degeneration include1
- Stiffness of the neck
- Shoulder pain
- Inner ear and ocular dysfunction
In the case of disc herniation, symptoms include
- Pain that radiates down to your hands and fingers
- Numbness or tingling in your shoulders, arms, and hands
- Weakness of your hands and/or arms
In some cases, symptoms of disc herniation can also resemble symptoms of carpal tunnel, rotator cuff issues, or gout.2
If your neck pain involves a combination of these symptoms, you may be dealing with cervical disc herniation or cervical disc degeneration.
Treatment options for neck pain
If you are suffering from cervical disc herniation or cervical disc degeneration, you may be wondering what your best option for treatment is. Typical treatments recommended for neck pain range from self-care to surgery. The treatment you choose will ultimately depend on your doctor’s recommendation as well as how you feel, but the following is an overview of treatment options.
Conservative treatment for these conditions may include low-impact exercise or placing a heating pad on the affected area. Physical and chiropractic therapy are other conservative options worth considering if your neck pain is not debilitating. If neither of these options seems like the right fit, medication may be recommended. Depending on the seriousness of your neck pain, medication can range from over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication to muscle relaxers, cortisone injections, or opioids.3
It should be noted that none of these treatments have been shown to provide significant results or relief for patients suffering from chronic pain. However, conservative treatment has been known to provide moderate relief for acute pain.
Surgical options for treating neck pain include artificial cervical disc surgery, discectomy or microdiscectomy, and spinal fusion.
Artificial disc surgery is a procedure that involves replacing the movement and cushioning function of damaged cervical discs by removing and replacing the damaged discs.4
A discectomy or microdiscectomy procedure involves removing herniated lumbar disc material that is causing pain by pressing on a nerve root or the spinal cord.5
Spinal fusion is a treatment for herniated discs that involves connecting or eliminating motion between two or more spinal vertebrae. This is done by placing bone or bonelike material between two spinal vertebrae. Metal plates, screws, or rods may also be used to hold the vertebrae together in order for it to heal into one solid unit.6
How effective is surgery for neck pain?
Surgery, especially in cases of severe and debilitating neck pain, is generally considered the most effective treatment option, but is that actually true?
In one scientific study, it was found that over time there is no difference between the results of surgical treatment versus non-surgical treatment. While this study doesn’t prove that surgery is definitively worse, the fact that there was no significant difference between the results of those treated by surgery and those who were not points to a lack of effectiveness.7 Another study showed that spinal fusion used with anterior decompression techniques provided no additional benefit in patients.8
In general, the long term success of surgery for spinal issues is less than 50%. The evidence does not point toward surgery being an effective treatment for neck pain.
What is the Discseel® Procedure and how does it help with neck pain?
Here’s how it works: Fibrin, an FDA-approved substance that is used off-label in this procedure and is uniquely formulated to heal discs, flows into the damaged disc’s tears and fissures, sealing them so that the disc can heal itself naturally. Because the disc tissue heals itself, pain relief is sustained and does not return as is prone to happen with other forms of treatment.
The reason why the Discseel® Procedure tends to be more effective than other forms of treatment for cervical disc pain is that it treats annular tears in the disc that cause leaky disc syndrome, rather than simply removing and replacing the disc or fusing discs together. Cervical disc degeneration, and disc degeneration in general, are caused by annular tears. Spinal fusions and other surgical treatments don’t identify the source of your pain, which leaves them unable to treat the root of the problem. Using Fibrin that actually seals the disc and promotes the growth of disc tissue is a much more effective procedure for solving neck pain.
The best treatment for neck pain caused by issues like cervical disc degeneration and cervical disc herniation is one that encourages the discs to heal themselves rather than removing discs or fusing them together. This is the function of the Discseel Procedure, and why it’s most likely your best option for treating your neck pain. Apply today and find out if you’re a candidate!
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