Image of a degenerative discSymptomatic cervical degenerative disc disease is a painful condition that can greatly reduce the quality of a patient’s life. Cervical degenerative disc disease is a normal part of our aging process, although in most instances it doesn’t cause pain. In a small percentage of people painful symptoms will develop and cervical degenerative disc disease treatment will be required.

The Symptoms of Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease

Common symptoms of cervical degenerative disc diseases include the following:

  • Pain caused by a stiff or inflexible neck
  • Tingling in the neck, shoulders, and arms
  • Muscular weakness in the neck, shoulder, and arms

Tingling and muscular weakness caused by cervical degenerative disc disease is a result of a pinched nerve in the neck. For more information please see our page with information about pinched nerve in the neck here.

Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment Options

When dealing with the majority of degenerative back conditions, you are recommended to begin treatment with conservative methods before seeking surgery, unless surgery is necessary because your condition is an emergency. Because of its invasive nature you should not attempt surgery before all conservative degenerative disc disease treatment options have been exhausted.

Conservative Treatment Options for Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease

Listed below are some of the common treatments.

  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic manipulation
  • Anti-inflammatory medication (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • Traction
  • Spinal injections

Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease Surgery

Conservative treatments for cervical degenerative disc disease are attempted for 2-3 months and then evaluated. If there is little or no progress with conservative treatments, surgery may be an option if your quality of lifestyle is being significantly affected.

Cervical Discectomy with Fusion
When combined with a cervical fusion a cervical discectomy is one of the most aggressive and invasive procedures that you can attempt for cervical degenerative disc disease treatment. For this reason alone a cervical discectomy combined with fusion is usually considered a final treatment option. The combined procedure involves gaining access to the damaged disc (usually through the front of the neck), removing the damaged disc, and then fusing the vertebrae together with a bone graft (bone or synthetic material) to rebuild the stability of the cervical spine.
A foraminotomy is a procedure performed to enlarge the vertebral foramen and to increase the amount of room available to exiting nerves. The procedure is done either alone or alongside a laminotomy.
Cervical Laminectomy
This procedure relieves pressure placed on the spinal cord by removing part or all of the lamina. The end goal of the procedure is to widen the spinal canal, creating more room for the spinal nerves and spinal cord.
A laminotomy is a procedure that is similar to a laminectomy discussed above. The difference between the 2 is that during a laminotomy for cervical degenerative disc treatment only a small portion of the lamina is removed. The procedure is extremely targeted with the objective of relieving pressure on specific nerves.