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I have degenerative discs in my neck and wonder what the best treatments are beyond pills and physical therapy which I've already tried. I have stiffness rather than pain. I have an appointment at Mayo soon.

Category: Family Physician-GP

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Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
 27 Doctors Online

Thank you for your query at
There are very limited options when it comes to degenerative disc in te cervical spine.
Apart from the regular icing, or the OTC pain killers, the next best alternative mode of treatment is Chiropractic adjustment. For a lot of people this seems to be extremely helpful.
If you have already tried both chiropractic and physiotherapy, then the last option is to use Cervical Collar, or Cervical Traction.
If that fails too, then the only available mode of treatment is surgery, where fusion in the areas of degeneration is done.
Feel free to discuss further,

Patient replied :

Is fusion a complicated procedure?

Thank you for your follow up at
Surgical treatment for the treatment of cervical degenerative disease is usually considered if pain is not adequately relieved after 6 months of pain medication, physiotherapy and chiropractise.
The aim of a fusion surgery would be to restrict the motion of the cervial vertebral segment to a minimum. The procedure involves removing the disc, decompressing the nerve root and inserting alternate material in place. This can be done due to the anatomy of a cervical disc which consists of a tough exterior (annulus fibrosus) and a soft, jelly interior (nucleus pulposus) which can be removed.
The alternate material to be put in place can be either a bone graft or a metal cage. The bone graft can be taken from the patient's own body, usually the pelvis or can be taken from a donor. What this does is reestablish the height of the spine previously occupied by the removed disc. Therefore the alignment of your neck vertebra is restored. A cervical plate enforces the graft or cage and may be used to promote fusion between the two vertebrae.
Generally, this is done at one disc level, and in rare circumstances a two-level fusion would be considered. Hope this helps you understand the fusion surgery.
Feel free to discuss further

Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy
Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
MBBS from Sri Ramachandra University in December 2011
M.Med (Family Medicine) - TNMGR University, Chennai
MBA-MPH in Public Health in March 2016, SRM University
Finished AFIH in March 2016, SRM University
MRCP ( UK ), Internal Medicine, Royal College of Physicians, June 2016
Fellowship in Diabetology from Martin Luther University in January 2017

Currently Resident Physician, in MD Radiodiagnosis - Kamakshi Memorial Hospital, Chennai
Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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