If you have a herniated disc in your neck, you may be experiencing a number of symptoms. A herniated disc is a deteriorating intervertebral disc that has a tear in its outer wall (annulus fibrosus) which can allow the release of its inner, gel-like core (nucleus pulposus) into the spinal canal. This extruded disc material can come into contact with the spinal cord or nerve roots, which is typically the cause of discomfort for patients with this condition. Whether you’re dealing with neck pain and an aching shoulder or numbness, muscle weakness, and shooting pains in your arm, you are probably looking for a way to relieve those symptoms.
Try Conservative Treatments First
It’s likely that your physician will recommend several conservative treatments to help mitigate your neck pain. These might include:
- Narcotic pain medication
- Over-the-counter or prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Muscle relaxers
- Hot therapy
- Cold therapy
- Physical therapy
- Low-impact exercise
- Intermittent rest
- Epidural steroid injections
You may also choose to explore alternative treatment methods, such as massage, acupuncture, aromatherapy, and others. Most mainstream medical professionals do not believe that these types of treatments are as effective as conservative options, but many patients have reported finding relief through them. Still, you should always consult a complementary and alternative medicine practitioner and your physician before starting any alternative treatments.
Will You Need Surgery?
Surgical treatment for a herniated disc in your neck probably won’t be necessary, because chances are, you’ll find some level of symptom relief within several weeks or months of implementing conservative or alternative treatments into your daily routine. Surgery is usually considered as a last-resort treatment method, and your physician may only recommend surgery if you’ve exhausted all other treatments methods without finding relief from neck pain. Talk to your physician to learn more about your herniated disc treatment options.