Pinched nerves in the neck can be caused by disc bulges or by bone
spurs. Most can be treated with rest, stretching, analgesics, physical
therapy, chiropractic care or acupuncture. Some will get better with
nerve blocks. When all conservative treatment fails, if
there is weakness, or in the event that the pain becomes overwhelming,
surgery may be needed.
Surgery for the neck is most commonly done anteriorly (through the
front of the neck rather than the back). The spine is closer to the front
of the neck, and the anterior operation is typically less painful. The
operation takes 45 to 60 minutes and rarely requires more than an
overnight stay in the hospital.
Most anterior cervical disc operations include a fusion. The fusion
involves replacing the disc with a piece of bone. Research has shown that
the fusion increases the rate of success. The risks of fusion are low. The
use of bone from the patientís hip (the painful part of fusion surgery) is
Ninety-five percent of patients, who undergo a cervical fusion surgery,
wake up from the operation without pain. Complications are rare. Patients
can usually return to work about three months after the surgery. To
explore your options, consult a spine specialist.