Answers to Common Chronic Neck Pain Questions

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about chronic neck pain.

What are surgical treatment options for neck pain?

If other treatments do not relieve your neck pain, your doctor may recommend surgery. In many cases, the focus of neck surgery is to stop the progression and worsening of myelopathy, or compression of the spinal cord, which can cause loss of balance and lead to permanent damage.

Surgical options include:

  • Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, which involves removing a disc that presses on a spinal nerve or the spinal cord, creating space for the nerve and replacing the disc with a bone graft. 
  • Laminectomy, which is used in more advanced cases that involve arthritis. Some of the covering or “roof” of the spinal canal (lamina) is removed to relieve pressure on the nerves or spinal cord. The surgeon inserts rods and screws for stabilization. 
  • Laminoforaminotomy, in which the surgeon makes a small keyhole opening to free up the nerve root that’s compressed and causing pain. This is typically used for younger patients who have problems with only one or two levels of vertebrae. 
  • Cervical disc replacement, for people with no or minimal arthritis. In this procedure, the affected disc is removed and replaced with a device, similar to knee or hip replacements. This procedure preserves movement.

Learn more:

Source: Max Berdichevsky, MD, Premier Orthopedic Spine Center

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