Due to the compression of the nerve, and inflammation, patients will feel intense pain. This pain must usually be managed with pain medications – both prescription and OTC, as well as corticosteroids (anti-inflammatory drugs), or NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
Depending on the specific symptoms of the patient and the advancement of the nerve issue, physical therapy might be an option as well. A physical therapist can help you to improve cervical traction and mobility, as well as other exercises targeting the neck.
In certain severe cases of cervical radiculopathy however, surgery might be necessary. For some patients the nerve compression becomes so significant that they experience motor weakness and their symptoms continually advance, despite physical therapy and other treatments. In cases such as this, depending on the cause of the cervical radiculopathy, there are a few different surgical options, including:
- Discectomy Surgery – This involves removal of the entire damaged disc. Usually performed through the anterior cervical approach, in conjunction with fusion (ACDF Surgery).
- Cervical Disc Replacement – The damaged or herniated disc is removed, usually from the front, and rather than fusing the spine, it is replaced with an artificial disc. Another goal of this procedure is motion preservation.
- Microdiscectomy or Cervical Decompression Surgery – Often done from the posterior, this procedure removes part of the herniated disc.