Spinal Decompression for Neck Pain

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Spinal Decompression for Neck Pain

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Spinal decompression surgery reduces pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerve roots and may reduce neck pain. To relieve the pressure, your doctor may remove:

  • Bony growths (osteophytes) and fibrous tissue that are narrowing the spinal canal and pressing on spinal nerve roots.
  • Parts of the vertebrae (laminectomy) to enlarge the spinal canal, to relieve pressure on the spinal nerve roots.
  • Disc material (discectomy) from a herniated disc that pushes into the spinal canal.

In some cases, after bone and disc material are removed, the affected bone (vertebrae) parts may be joined together (spinal fusion) to stabilize them.

Surgery is only done to relieve severe symptoms of neck pain caused by pressure on the nerve roots (especially from a herniated disc). This pressure on the nerve roots may also cause arm pain, numbness, or tingling; leg pain, numbness, or tingling; or problems with bladder or bowel control. In these cases, surgery usually helps relieve symptoms. But even neck pain caused by pressure on the nerve roots is usually first treated without surgery.

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Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Donald Sproule, MD, CM, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
Last Revised September 21, 2010

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