Age, injury, posture or diseases can lead to degeneration of the joints and bones of the neck, causing disc herniation, bone spurs, blood vessel destruction or vertebral injury. These can cause a narrowing of the spinal canal and the small openings where nerve roots exit.
Symptoms of this narrowing, or impingement, include:
- Neck and/or arm pain
- Numbness or weakness in both hands
- Difficulty with walking
- Spasms of the leg muscles
- Loss of coordination
Non-surgical treatment is the first approach used for non-trauma conditions. Surgical treatment may be necessary if non-surgical treatment is ineffective or if the neurological symptoms increase.
Depending on a patient’s health situation, surgical procedures may be used to relieve pressure on nerves, remove ruptured spinal discs or damaged vertebrae, and generally provide pain relief for the patient. Type of surgery chosen is determined by the severity of the problem and the stability of the spinal column.
- Anterior Cervical Discectomy – (Front of the neck) Performed in the case of a ruptured disc. The disc is removed and may be replaced with a bone graft.
- Anterior Cervical Corpectomy – Performed at the same time as a discectomy. Portions of the vertebra are removed, usually at one or two levels. Space created by the removal is replaced with a bone graft, also known as a fusion.
- Posterior Microdiscectomy – (Back of the neck) A small portion of the joint between affected vertebrae is removed, and the nerve root is gently shifted so the soft disc material can be removed through the opening.
- Posterior Cervical Laminectomy – (Middle of the neck) The area around the nerve root is enlarged, and bone, disc material or other tissue is removed to stop impingement of the root.
- Fusion – Used in conjunction with other surgeries to maintain stability of the spine.
Spinal cord stimulation therapy for chronic back pain
Parkview Neurosciences professionals use various approaches to treat chronic back pain, depending on a patient’s health history:
- Physical therapy
- Nerve block injections
- Surgical repair
Certain individuals who experience chronic pain from cancer, spinal cord injury and reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) have found relief through the use of a spinal cord stimulator. Implanted under the skin of the lower abdomen, the device uses low-voltage electrical stimulation to block pain that normally travels along the spinal cord.
The majority of patients who have had a spinal cord stimulator implanted have experienced significant relief. Some individuals have also been able to reduce their use of medications.