When is neck pain a serious issue? When it’s a pinched nerve, according to Dr. Joel Bauman, chief of neurosurgery at the Connecticut Orthopaedic Institute at MidState Medical Center.
Q: What is a pinched nerve?
A: A pinched nerve is when there is an injury, usually in the disk, which is a piece of cartilage, or perhaps some bone spurs in the back of the neck that causes inflammation and compression of a nerve. What happens is that the nerve gets inflamed, causing pain that goes down the arm. That causes great discomfort.
Q: What are the treatment methodologies? Is surgery required?
A: Most patients don’t need surgery. Anti-inflammatory pain medication and perhaps physical therapy are the first steps.
Q: If surgery is required, what happens? What are the surgical approaches?
A: With surgery, the goal is to take pressure off of the pinched nerve. The most conventional surgery is something called an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, where we remove most of the disk, take the pressure off the nerve, and then we place a spacer where the disk was to restore the height in a plate that connects the two bones together. We also offer something called disk replacement, and it’s done through a similar approach.
Learn more about your options for neck pain at the Connecticut Orthopaedic Institute at MidState Medical Center by clicking here, or calling 833.CT.ORTHO (1.833.286.7846)