When To Consider Decompression Surgery For Cervical Spine Pain

Decompression surgery can treat conditions affecting the cervical (upper) spine when conservative treatments have not brought the relief needed for a return to normal activity. A pinched nerve from a herniated disc or arthritis can do more than cause neck pain – nerve compression can also lead to neuropathic symptoms. This includes muscle weakness, shooting pain, as well as tingling, and numbness in the arms and hands. 

These symptoms can interfere with every part of your life, from getting a good night’s sleep to driving home from work. Before seriously considering if nerve decompression surgery for the cervical spine is the treatment you need to return to normal activity, it is important to work with your doctor to make sure all other treatment options have been exhausted. 

Your Options 

For many patients diagnosed with a pinched nerve in the cervical spine, a course of conservative treatment can effectively treat symptoms enough for a return to normal activity. The goal of nonsurgical treatment is to find a combination of methods that relieves pain, restores mobility, and improves overall health on a long-term basis. This can be accomplished through methods such as: 

  • Neck strengthening and stretching exercises
  • Limited rest
  • Muscle relaxants, pain medication, anti-inflammatories, or other prescription medication
  • Heat or ice therapy
  • Posture improvement 
  • A nutrient-rich diet
  • Quitting smoking 
  • Limiting alcohol consumption


In the event that conservative treatment had been proven ineffective after at least several weeks, a physician may suggest a surgical option. The goal of cervical spine decompression treatment is to create room for the nerves to function correctly by removing the spinal anatomy – such as an arthritic bone spur or portion of a spinal disc – that is causing nerve compression. Traditional open spine decompression surgery is elective and considered a last resort treatment due to the highly invasive nature of these kinds of procedures. 

BEST Health System offers an alternative with minimally invasive decompression surgery from the spine. Our highly skilled surgeons use a less than one-inch incision to reach the cervical spine and decompress affected nerves. Since important supporting muscles are spared, our patients enjoy a shorter recovery time with less risk of complication compared to traditional open neck procedures. 

Contact BEST Health System Today!