Neck surgery can be performed to treat debilitating pain caused by degeneration in the cervical area of the spine, but this option is recommended only for a minority of patients and, even then, often just as a last resort. Some causes of neck pain, such as normal wear and tear and the inevitable aging process, are simply unavoidable. Nevertheless, there are many things you can do to minimize your risk of developing the types of neck and back conditions that often stem from years of poor posture or body mechanics. In addition, if you are already experiencing neck pain due to an injury, strain, degenerative disc disease, or other known cause, there are a variety of conservative treatment options available that may alleviate your symptoms and delay or eliminate your need for neck surgery.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Of course, by staying physically fit and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you will enjoy myriad benefits. Among them is the increased likelihood that you will avoid having to undergo neck surgery to treat an aging spine at some point during your lifetime. One of the first parts of the spine to weaken over time and cause pain are the soft, protective discs that are sandwiched between vertebrae. To protect your intervertebral discs and ensure that they – and the rest of your spine – receive good nutrition, be sure to eat the right foods, practice good posture, maintain a healthy weight, engage in a regular aerobic exercise program, avoid strenuous repetitive motions, and most importantly, refrain from smoking.
Explore Conservative Treatment Options
Even if you’re already dealing with ongoing neck discomfort, don’t automatically assume that neck surgery is your only avenue for relief. You may find that you are able to manage your symptoms quite well through a comprehensive nonsurgical treatment plan. To help you feel better, your physician may recommend one or more of the following alternatives: physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, steroidal injections, massage, ice, heat, and activity modification. After following such a regimen, you may find that your symptoms have decreased to the point that you no longer need to consider neck surgery.
The results of neck surgery are never guaranteed. Therefore, you should only pursue surgical intervention after the non-operative treatment measures recommended by your physician are attempted without success.