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Thread: Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment Options

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    Arrow Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment Options

    Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment Options




    Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease:

    Cervical disc degeneration is a common cause of neck pain, most frequently felt as a stiff neck. Cervical degenerative disc disease is much less common than disc degeneration in the lumbar spine because the neck generally is subjected to far less torque and force. Nonetheless, a fall or a twisting injury to the disc space can spur degeneration, and accumulated wear and tear on the disc over time can also lead to neck pain caused by disc degeneration.
    Cervical degenerative disc disease pain and symptoms

    In addition to having the low-grade pain of a stiff or inflexible neck, many patients with cervical disc degeneration have numbness, tingling, or even weakness in the neck, arms, or shoulders as a result of nerves in the cervical area becoming irritated or pinched.

    For example, a pinched nerve root in the C6-C7 segment could result in weakness in the triceps and forearms, wrist drop and altered sensation in the middle fingers or fingertips.

    Cervical disc degeneration can also contribute to spinal stenosis and other progressive conditions, as well as a more sudden disc herniation.
    Cervical degenerative disc disease diagnosis

    Successful diagnosis of cervical degenerative disc disease begins with a physician reviewing the patient’s history of symptoms and performing a physical examination to measure neck extension and flexibility. During the exam, patients may be asked to perform certain movements and report whether the neck pain increases or decreases.

    If a physical exam warrants further investigation, imaging studies such as X-Ray, MRI and possibly a CT scan will be taken. These diagnostic images can confirm whether and where degeneration is occurring, and can identify other conditions (such as calcification or arthritis) that could be causing the symptoms.

    Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment Options


    The general treatment for cervical degenerative disc disease is largely the same as for degenerative disc disease in the lumbar spine. That is, conservative care (no-surgical) is recommended as the primary strategy and surgery is only considered if a concerted effort at conservative care fails to provide adequate pain relief or a patient’s daily activity has been significantly compromised.

    Conservative care
    Patients may find relief by applying ice or heat, using medications to control pain and inflammation, and exercising the neck and shoulder areas (alone or with the help of a professional familiar with neck conditions) to relieve stiffness and maintain flexibility. In addition, neck appliances or traction may be prescribed.

    Over the counter and prescription medications can provide relief. These include non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and pain relievers like acetaminophen (such as Tylenol). Prescription medications such as oral steroids, muscle relaxants or narcotic pain medications may also be used.

    Exercise, specifically stretching as many dimensions of the neck as possible, is essential to maintain flexibility in the neck and relieve chronic stiffness. A specific set of exercises should be developed by a physician or physical therapist.


    Some exercises that could be done several times a day include:


    o Chin-to-chest stretch, which stretches the back of the neck
    o Side-to-side swivel, which involves slowly turning the head to the left and right
    o Eyes-to-the-sky, where a patient lifts the chin upward to stretch the front of the neck and upper thoracic area
    o Ear-to-shoulder stretch to extend the sides of the neck as much as possible (this can be facilitated by gently placing a hand on the head but should not involve pulling or pushing the neck and head to the shoulder)

    • Physical therapy or chiropractic manipulation may also provide relief by helping patients extend the neck and shoulders to increase, at least temporarily, the disc space in the affected vertebral segment

    • Use of a cervical collar, cervical pillows or neck traction may also be recommended to stabilize the neck and improve neck alignment so the disc compression is not exacerbated as a patient sleeps or relaxes at home

    Surgery

    If pain is not relieved adequately with six months of conservative care and daily activities become difficult, surgery may be considered. Specifically fusion may be recommended to stop the motion of the affected cervical vertebral segment. This entails removal of the disc, decompression of the nerve root, and insertion of a bone graft or a metal cage device to help maintain or reestablish the normal height of the disc space as well as neck stability and alignment. A cervical plate may be used to promote fusion between the two vertebrae.

    Generally, a one-level fusion is done, and in rare circumstances a two-level fusion would be considered. However, patients should know that surgery for neck pain is much less reliable than surgery to relieve arm pain from cervical degenerative disc disease. Thus if the only or predominant symptom is neck pain, fusion surgery should be recommended only as a last resort and after all other treatment options have been exhausted. If a disc space cannot be identified as the probable pain generator, it is reasonable even in cases where conservative treatment has not worked well to avoid surgery.


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    Contents in this Article:


    • Artificial Disc for Cervical Disc Replacement
    • Artificial cervical disc background
    • Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion

      --------------------------
    • Neck pain - Tests and diagnosis
    • Neck pain - Treatments and drugs
    • Neck pain that radiates down the arm
    • Neck pain that is related to certain activities or positions
    • Arm pain with lack of coordination
    • Neck pain that persists for more than a few months and may fluctuate

      ------------------------------
    • Anterior Cervical Decompression (Discectomy
    • General procedure for the decompression surgery
    • Cervical Artificial Disc Replacement Technologies


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    Neck pain


    Most people will experience neck pain at some point in their lives. Neck pain can be acute, meaning it lasts a few hours to a few weeks, or it can be chronic. Neck pain that lasts several weeks or longer is considered chronic neck pain.

    Most causes of neck pain aren't serious. Poor posture at work, such as leaning into your computer, and during hobbies, such as hunching over your workbench, are common causes of neck pain.

    But sometimes neck pain can signify something more serious. If your neck pain is so severe that you can't touch your chin to your chest despite a few days of self-care, seek immediate medical attention.


    Symptoms


    Neck pain takes many forms. Signs and symptoms of neck pain may include:

    •Pain in your neck that may feel sharp or dull

    •Stiffness in your neck

    •Difficulty going about your daily tasks because of pain or stiffness in your neck

    •Shoulder pain in addition to neck pain, in some cases

    •Back pain in addition to neck pain, in some cases


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    For more details:

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    Neck pain: All - MayoClinic.com
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    thnx

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