There’s a reason why the phrase “pain in the neck” is so frequently used to describe a person or situation that is intensely annoying: it’s because actual, physical pain in the neck is one of the most frustrating, uncomfortable sensations that a person can be forced to endure. There are a number of conditions that can lead to neck pain, and many of them can be addressed by our cervical spine specialist in New Jersey.
When patients come to see us for pain originating from the cervical spine, one of our most frequent recommendations is a procedure known as cervical disc replacement. This procedure is often offered instead of another procedure known as cervical discectomy and fusion. Both procedures can provide relief, but a cervical disc replacement generally provides better range of motion and a shorter recovery time. In fact, undergoing cervical disc replacement can allow patients to recover in a matter of days rather than the weeks it takes to recover from fusion surgery.
Patients who are good candidates for a cervical disc replacement are generally those whose cervical discs have herniated or been damaged as a result of a degenerative process. The cervical discs are essentially the shock absorbers that provide cushioning for the vertebrae in your cervical spine, and when they wear down or slip out of place, it can lead to painful symptoms including neck pain or pain, numbness or weakness in the arm and shoulder. This is a result of compression and pinching of the nerves or the spinal cord itself.
Where a cervical discectomy and fusion procedure involves removing the damaged disc and then fusing the two adjacent vertebrae together using a piece of bone, a metal plate and screws that eventually stabilize the spine, cervical disc replacement offers a different route that allows more normal motion in the spine. Rather than fusing the vertebrae together, the damaged or degenerated disc is replaced with an artificial replacement that does the same work as the original. It frees you of the pain you had been experiencing by eliminating the compression and pinching that had been caused by the defective disc, while at the same time returning you to a range of motion similar to what you had been capable of before the original disc broke down.
One of the best things about the cervical disc replacement procedure is that patients suffering from cervical disc radiculopathy, cervical spinal stenosis, cervical disc herniation and degenerative disc disease are all able to find tremendous relief that simultaneously permits them to return to their normal activities, including athletic activity. The procedure is ideal for patients who are younger than sixty who don’t suffer from arthritis.
If you would like more information on this procedure and whether it is appropriate for treating your neck pain, contact our office today to set up an appointment to come in for a consultation and diagnosis.