Rene Ranger, a New Zealand rugby player who has been in France for the past several years, had his return to New Zealand delayed due to the need for neck surgery. It seems that several collisions caused some disc damage, which, in turn, led to weakening in one of his arms.
If you follow rugby at all, you may have heard about this unfortunate chain of events. If his injury had been detected earlier, he might have avoided the complication of losing strength in his arm, plus his homecoming to New Zealand might have been more timely.
Signs of Disc Damage That Might Lead to Neck Surgery
Those playing contact sports might experience injuries to the neck, but how do you know if you may have disc damage? Some neck injuries can involve only the soft tissue, but since repeated damage can impact the discs that cushion the vertebrae of the neck, it’s important to be evaluated by a neck and spine specialist like Dr. Kornel to see if you’re a candidate for neck surgery.
In the meantime, some of the signs that you might be suffering from cervical disc disease, which is a degenerative condition of the discs, include
- neck pain
- stiff neck
- and pain, weakness or numbness radiating down to the shoulder, arm or hand.
Can Cervical Disc Damage Be Treated Without Neck Surgery?
In many cases, cervical disc damage can be treated effectively without neck surgery. Your spine doctor might suggest physical therapy, pain reliever, neck traction and home remedies that can reduce your pain. If the pain is severe, however, or if you have progressed to having numbness or weakness along one arm or hand, it might be time to see a surgeon about neck surgery.
What Type of Neck Surgery Will I Need?
The disc or discs causing you the radiating weakness or pain will be removed during your neck surgery. In most cases, there are two options for replacing the disc: cervical fusion or an artificial disc replacement.
Some patients may be candidates for artificial disc replacement (cervical arthroplasty) allowing continued motion at the involved vertebral segment. Arthroplasty is not the right procedure for everyone; a fusion may be the better option.
Consulting with an expert neck surgeon like Dr. Kornel can help you decide. He can sit down with you and go over your options if it turns out that you need neck surgery. Once the need for surgery has been established, you’ll find that the sooner you have it done, the sooner you will be back to your normal activities. Please call the office today at (914) 353-4106 to schedule your consultation appointment.