I have been told I need neck surgery by my Doctor....
Posted Mar 02 2011 12:00am
Recently i had a phone call from desperate woman who was suffering from neck pain. In fact she had severe neck pain with numbness and tingling into the hands/arms.She had a cervical MRI to show exactly what is going on. A cervical disc herniation at C4/C5 was seen on the MRI. The patient had seen her regular doctor who had referred her to an neurologist and also an orthopedic surgeon. The patient was in a lot of pain, having difficulty sleeping at night and was desperate for a solution. She asked specifically about using a cervical support pillow, specifically the arc4life cervical traction neck pillow . Yes, I said this neck pillow would help her- but that was only one part of the solution. She had to do some other kind of therapy/treatment as well. This would include seeing a physical therapist, maybe a chiropractor who could recommend to her a neck traction protocol. The patient stated that her neurosurgeon has specifically told her not to see the chiropractor at all for her neck pain. She had no experience with chiropractic in the past, but this is what this Dr had told her. In fact she was told her other option besides surgery was to go to a pain management clinic.
I let the patient know that she must try all therapies before going to surgery and pain management. Yes, these may be solutions to stop the neck pain, but they should be the last choice. Sometimes they work, sometimes they can leave you with more pain and symptoms. Taking medications would be a long term commitment, and not without side effects, and a complete change to the way she lead her life.
I also informed the patient that the chiropractor would probably be able to help her. A cervical rotational adjustment is not the only treatment that a chiropractor performs. There are other types of adjustments and types of treatment that can be suggested and should be tried. At the chiropractors office they could show her how to do home exercises, how to start a traction protocol, and do therapy in the office for pain relief. There are chiropractors that do non surgical spinal decompression in their office, another effective treatment for a cervical disc herniation. Not everyone is a candidate for this treatment, but like i said before, she should exhaust all non invasive treatments first. Other treatment options include physical therapy, oxygen therapy, cold laser- many other options besides drugs and surgery.
If your Dr's first mode of treatment is pain management or neck surgery, think about it carefully, and choose your next step wisely. Please consider a second opinion from another health professional and keep your options open. One quick decision can cost you a lifetime of pain.
By the way, the patient sounded quite relieved on the other end when i let her know that there are other options for the pain she was experiencing in her neck. It would be a long road to recovery, but to know that she had other options besides surgery and drugs was welcome news.