If you’ve been experiencing chronic neck pain for an extended period of time, it’s possible you may be a candidate for cervical disc replacement surgery. If you haven’t spoken with your doctor about your chronic pain, we highly recommend doing so. Early intervention does make a difference in the recovery and longevity of the spine, and quality of life for those who suffer from chronic neck pain.
What is Cervical Disc Replacement Surgery?
The cervical spine sits below the skull and ends just above the thoracic spine. This is the part of the spine that promotes mobility of your neck and head and supports the movement of both.
Cervical discs are located between the vertebrae in the neck, and allow the neck to move freely (think of all the directions and angles you can move your neck and head). Over time, these discs can wear down, known as degeneration, and can require surgery if severe enough.
Another occurrence is when the space between the vertebrae becomes narrow, the cervical disc in that region can press on the spinal cord and nerves, causing a great deal of pain and numbness.
Cervical disc replacement is a procedure that involves removing a damaged or degenerated cervical disc and replacing it with an artificial disc replacement.
If you’re curious about what the signs or symptoms are to qualify for cervical disc replacement surgery, keep reading to discover if this could be the solution for you.
- Cervical Disc Degeneration
Cervical disc degeneration occurs when one of the cushioning discs in the cervical spine starts to break down from wear and tear, typically from age (most commonly diagnosed in people over the age of 60). Disc degeneration is a common cause of neck and arm pain and can be an indicator that disc replacement surgery is needed.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a disc generation disease, staying on top of your pain and other symptoms is extremely important. Be open and honest with your doctor about what you’re feeling so they can make an accurate recommendation.
- Other treatment methods aren’t working
There are many conservative treatment options that provide adequate relief for pain sufferers. These vary from over-the-counter pain medication, alternating between heat and ice, and halting strenuous activity to rest your body. You may have also tried acupuncture, chiropractic measures, or other holistic approaches to pain management.
If those aren’t working, your doctor may also recommend prescription medicine, steroid injections, and physical therapy.
If you’ve tried these treatments and feel like you’ve exhausted all options, it may be time to discuss the disc replacement surgery with your doctor as a real option to shoulder the pain you’re experiencing.
If none of these aforementioned conditions fit your situation, you can also start by evaluating your symptoms. These may include:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Headaches with associated neck pain
- Pain that travels down into the shoulders and arms
- Weakness of shoulders, arms, hands, or legs
- Numbness in the arms, commonly called “pins and needles”
It’s also worth mentioning that to qualify for a cervical disc replacement, candidates must be considered in good health and capable of a successful recovery.
If you’re anxious about needing cervical disc replacement surgery, you’ll find peace of mind knowing that it’s one of the best (and safest) neck pain treatment options available.
Additionally, the surgery typically brings faster healing and return to everyday life, when compared to fusion surgery. There’s also a much lower rate of repeat surgeries down the line.
If you’re experiencing neck pain that’s more severe or unusual, addressing the issue will be much more effective if you can discuss the symptoms you’ve been experiencing.
*Don’t miss our recent Cervical Artificial Disc Replacement webinar with four top spine surgeons here!