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5 Effective Treatments for a Herniated Cervical Disc

5 Effective Treatments for a Herniated Cervical Disc

Your neck has seven vertebrae, and these vertebrae stack together with vertebral discs between them to form your cervical spine. A healthy spine has strong, flexible vertebral discs to cushion your bones as you move, but injury and degeneration can cause one disc (or several) to herniate.

When a cervical disc herniates, it prolapses or ruptures and presses against the nerves in your spinal column. The pressure and inflammation can cause symptoms like:

The good news is that treatment can relieve your pain and restore your mobility. George Kakoulides, MD, is a spine specialist, and he works with patients of all ages to treat their herniated cervical discs.

Most of the time, Dr. Kakoulides starts with conservative treatment options. If those aren’t effective, surgery may be an option. Here are five of the most effective treatments for herniated cervical disc pain.

1. Medication

Mildly herniated discs may feel better with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, coupled with a few days of rest. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories target inflammation and swelling around the damaged disc in your neck and help reduce pain.

Along with over-the-counter medication, Dr. Kakoulides may prescribe muscle relaxants. These medications can minimize painful muscle spasms with herniated discs, further reduce inflammation, and help you go about your life more comfortably. 

If your herniated disc is more severe, Dr. Kakoulides might prescribe epidural steroid injections. Steroid injections administer a stronger anti-inflammatory medication directly into your spinal column, where your herniated disc is located.

2. Physical therapy

Physical therapy supports healthy recovery, whether your herniated disc is mild or severe. It’s a form of active recovery that helps you strengthen your neck and back muscles to reduce pain naturally.

Your therapist evaluates your injury then develops a physical therapy plan for you. Therapy for a herniated cervical disc may include stretching, strength training exercises, massage, or electrical muscle stimulation. Along with in-office sessions, you can expect your therapist to give you exercises to do at home.

3. Alternative medicine

Alternative treatments for herniated cervical discs include acupuncture and chiropractic care. In acupuncture, your acupuncturist places thin needles into the skin around your injury at various points. It’s not painful and can relieve pain and inflammation from herniated discs.

Chiropractic care focuses on manual spinal manipulation. To treat a herniated cervical disc, your chiropractor carefully moves your head, neck, and spine to increase mobility, relieve tension, and reduce pain.

4. Interventional pain management

Interventional pain management is a holistic approach. Your treatment is focused on identifying the exact cause of your pain and treating it to relieve your symptoms. Typically, interventional pain management is a collaboration between your healthcare providers, including your spine surgeon, anesthesiologists, physical and occupational therapists, and even psychologists.

5. Herniated cervical disc surgery

Conservative treatments are often successful in treating herniated cervical discs. But you still have options if you’ve tried all the conservative options and you’re still in pain. Dr. Kakoulides offers surgery for severely herniated discs when other treatments haven’t worked.

He evaluates your condition and reviews the treatments you’ve tried so far. Depending on your condition, he chooses several minimally invasive surgical methods.

Discectomy and anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) are two common procedures to remove part or all of the damaged disc in your neck. Cervical corpectomy and cervical foraminotomy can decompress nerves in your spinal cord.

Along with surgical disc removal and decompression, Dr. Kakoulides may recommend cervical disc replacement. Cervical disc replacement surgery involves removing the damaged disc completely and replacing it with a durable artificial spinal disc.

Suffering a herniated cervical disc doesn’t mean you have to live with that neck pain forever. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Kakoulides and our team to learn more about your options. Call (631) 358-2589 or book an appointment online now.

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