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Treating Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease

What Can I do for Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease?

Patients with symptoms that do not interfere with daily life may benefit from at-home treatments. Some recommended at-home treatments for cervical degenerative disc disease include:

 At Home Treatments for Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease:
  • Exercise– Exercises that increase strength and flexibility in the neck and back can help reduce pain.
  • Ice or heat therapy– Pain may be relieved by placing an ice or heat pack on the areas affected by pain.
  • OTC Medications– Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication may reduce pain. Keep in mind to always take these medications only as instructed on the bottle.
  • Rest– Refraining from certain activities that engage the back for a few weeks can help ease the pain.

What If I Need Additional Treatment for Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease?

Not all cases of cervical degenerative disc disease can be treated at home. In severe cases, surgery may be needed. Houston Physicians’ Hospital offers the following surgical treatments for degenerative disc disease:

  • Cervical disc fusion
  • Cervical disc replacement

These treatments can relieve pain and other symptoms associated with severe cases of cervical degenerative disc disease. It is important to speak with a medical professional before deciding to undergo surgery, as you should exhaust all forms of non-surgical treatment before resorting to surgery.

How Do I Recover from Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease?

After receiving surgical treatment for cervical degenerative disc disease, many patients are provided with a soft collar. This helps support the area surrounding the surgical site and prevent further injury. These braces should be worn for 2 weeks, which provides enough time for recovery without the muscles becoming weakened by lack of use. Often, patients are back to simple activities, such as driving a car, within one week, and can return to work within 2-6 weeks, depending on the type of work. Enrolling in physical therapy to strengthen the muscles in the cervical spine is recommended. Physical therapy provides patients with the ability to exercise under the provision of a professional, eliminating the patient from performing activities they are not ready for. When recovering, it is important to refrain from hyperextension, such as leaning the head backwards, and jogging. Typically, these activities are off-limits for three months, but your Houston Physicians’ Hospital physician will provide you with information as to when you can resume these activities.