Your cervical spine, more commonly referred to as your neck, is made up of seven vertebrae that start at the top of your shoulders and rise to the base of your skull. It serves a multitude of purposes, including protecting the spinal cord, enabling movement, and much more. While not all neck discomfort is serious, cases of isolated neck pain affecting neurological function may require the need for cervical surgery. Here, New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, P.C. outlines the cervical spine procedures that we offer, as well as the common symptoms and conditions they treat.
Supporting the weight of the head, the neck is flexible yet susceptible to conditions or injures that cause pain or diminish range of motion. According to Dr. Sandro LaRocca of New Jersey Neck and Back Institute, P.C., neck pain is categorized by discomfort in the neck region, with symptoms such as:
Although neck pain can be uncomfortable, not every instance requires cervical surgery. In some cases, over-the-counter prescriptions, ice and heat therapy, steroid injections, or other modalities can help. However, if you’ve been diagnosed with any of the following neck pain conditions, then cervical surgery might be the right option for you:
Bone spurs are growths that form along a bone’s perimeter, typically in or near joints. If they affect the bones in your neck, spurs could result in severe discomfort and a loss of mobility.
Degenerative Disc Disease/Cervical Spondylosis
Degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine can be used interchangeably with the term cervical spondylosis. With age, overuse, or injury, the spine’s discs and joints naturally degenerate, and as a result, discs can bulge and bone spurs may form. These changes can lead to compression of the spinal cord or nerve roots, causing a cervical spondylotic myelopathy or radiculopathy.
Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy (CSM)
CSM is a clinical syndrome caused by compression of the spinal cord in the cervical spine. It is characterized by neurologic dysfunction, which may consist of the following:
Compression of the spinal cord may be the result of numerous causes, including spondylosis caused by degenerative disc disease, as well as herniated discs or even trauma.
Spinal discs serve as the soft cartilage cushioning between the vertebrae or bones of the spine. A herniated disc, sometimes referred to as slipped disc, is the result of a rupture of the disc, which can potentially compress the spinal cord or spinal nerves. In the cervical spine, disc herniations can result in neck pain, radiculopathy, or myelopathy (CSM). They can be caused by degenerative disc disease but also by various types of injury, ranging from sports incidents to car accidents and falls.
Radiculopathy is categorized by radiating pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness into the extremities. It can originate at any point on the spine, including the neck. Compressed nerves in the spine are the cause, and the condition can result in severe complications if left untreated.
Cervical Spinal Stenosis
Stenosis can occur anywhere along the spine, including the neck, where it is called cervical stenosis. The condition results from the narrowing of the spinal canal due to natural degeneration, damage from trauma, or spinal tumors. Severe cases can cause myelopathy, a condition defined by neurologic consequences from spinal cord compression. While surgery may be recommended based on symptoms alone, we urge that you visit the emergency room or seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following:
Offering consultation and expertise at our New Jersey clinics in Lawrenceville, Toms River, North Brunswick, and Mount Laurel, Dr. LaRocca regularly performs cutting-edge procedures on patients’ cervical spines, including minimally invasive procedures. Recommended surgical options may include:
To learn more about these procedures or to determine if cervical surgery is right for your diagnosis, contact the New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, P.C. team today.