It isn’t uncommon to have occasional neck pain from an awkward sleep position or emotional stress and muscle tension. These forms of neck pain often go away after a few days of self-care.
However, if something structural occurs in your neck, the pain may become chronic, leading to other symptoms like arm pain and tingling in the hand and fingers.
Conservative measures such as medications, physical therapy, and steroid injections help many people manage chronic pain — but what if that isn’t enough?
When pain persists despite nonsurgical measures, Dr. Jordi X. Kellogg and the team at Kellogg Brain and Spine offer more invasive options for long-term relief.
Dr. Kellogg is an experienced board-certified neurosurgeon who provides various forms of neck surgery for patients with treatment-resistant chronic neck pain.
Causes of chronic neck pain
Neck pain has many causes and is extremely frustrating because of decreased range of motion. You may experience neck pain after an injury, poor posture, or extreme mental stress.
Those causes typically last for a few weeks and then get better as the injury heals, you correct your posture, or the stress resolves. But what happens when neck pain lingers for months or years?
Chronic neck pain is a problem because it limits your everyday activities, especially when you're unable to move your neck or turn your head. There are various reasons you may have chronic neck pain, including the following conditions:
- Spinal stenosis
- Cervical herniated disc
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Bone spurs
- Degenerative disc disease
These conditions lead to various symptoms, including pain and the inability to move your neck in specific ways. You may also experience symptoms in your arms if there's nerve compression.
Conservative measures failed — now what?
When neck pain becomes too much, Dr. Kellogg and his team offer conservative treatments. Spinal injections, physical therapy, and muscle relaxers are common nonsurgical treatments that work for some people.
However, if your pain persists despite trying several conservative treatments, Dr. Kellogg suggests surgical intervention for long-term pain relief.
Although surgery is a big step, it has the potential to provide you with significant relief where other treatments have failed. If you're at the point that neck pain is affecting your life, the benefits of surgery typically outweigh the risks.
Dr. Kellogg performs numerous types of spine surgery; he determines which is best for you based on your symptoms and the cause of the pain. A few of the procedures he may recommend for chronic neck pain include:
- Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion
- Artificial disc replacement
- Cervical posterior foraminotomy
- Spinal cord stimulator
These procedures address specific issues within your neck to eliminate pain and improve your quality of life. They're relatively safe, but like all procedures, they come with risks that Dr. Kellogg explains before surgery.
Will surgery eliminate my pain for good?
One of the risks of neck surgery is knowing only the outcome after recovering. However, Dr. Kellogg has been performing neck surgery for years and is an expert in determining the need for surgical intervention.
Odds are, if chronic neck pain affects your quality of life and other measures haven't even touched your pain, surgery offers a chance for permanent relief.
Most people who have neck surgery report significant relief even before recovery is over from the procedure. Surgery affects each person differently, and your willingness to participate in physical therapy post-operatively and the severity of your condition before surgery are factors in its success.
The key to long-term relief is making lifestyle changes before and after surgery. Fix your posture, make good choices in sleeping positions, and participate in stretching your neck when you're able.
After surgery, follow Dr. Kellogg's instructions for aftercare and activity to ensure you get the best results.
Don't hesitate to call one of our offices in Oregon today to book a consultation for chronic neck pain or request an appointment with Dr. Kellogg on our website.