Even if your neck pain does not go away completely, or it gets more painful at times, learning to take care of your back at home and prevent repeat episodes of your back pain can help you avoid surgery.
Symptoms from cervical spondylosis usually stabilize or get better with simple, conservative therapy, including:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)
- Narcotic medicine or muscle relaxants
- Physical therapy to learn exercises to do at home
- Cortisone injections to specific areas of the spine
- Various other medications to help with chronic pain, including phenytoin, carbamazepine, or tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline
If the pain does not respond to these measures, or there is a loss of movement or feeling, surgery is considered. Surgery is done to relieve the pressure on the nerves or the spinal cord.
- Spinal fusion
Most patients with cervical spondylosis will have some long-term symptoms. However, they respond to nonsurgical treatments and do not need surgery.
- Chronic neck pain
- Inability to hold in feces (fecal incontinence) or urine (urinary incontinence)
- Progressive loss of muscle function or feeling
- Permanent disability (occasional)
Calling Your Health Care Provider
Try home treatments, such as the use of a cervical collar (which you can buy at pharmacies) and over-the-counter pain medications.
Call your health care provider if:
- The condition becomes worse
- There are signs of complications
- You develop new symptoms (such as loss of movement or sensation in an area of the body).
Review Date : 7/10/2009
Reviewed By : Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Dept. of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.