Nonsurgical treatment is used initially for milder cases of CSM. The goal of nonsurgical treatment is to decrease pain and improve the patient’s ability to perform common daily tasks and activities. Nonsurgical treatment options include:
- Soft cervical collar: This is a padded ring that wraps around the neck and is held in place with Velcro. The purpose of a soft cervical collar is to allow the muscles in the neck to rest while limiting the range of motion, decreasing the pinched nerve roots that accompany movement of the neck.
- Physical therapy (PT): Specific exercises can help relieve pain, strengthen neck muscles and increase flexibility. Physical therapy can also help the patient to maintain strength and endurance, making it easier to perform normal daily activities.
- Medications: In some cases, medications can help improve symptoms.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications: Drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen can help relieve pain from reduce inflammation.
Oral corticosteroids: A short course of oral corticosteroids may be used to help relieve or reduce pain and inflammation.
Although patients may be inclined to try chiropractic manipulation for neck and back pain, manipulation should never be used for spinal cord compression.
If nonsurgical treatment does not relieve patient symptoms, consult a doctor about the potential benefit of surgery. Patients with identifiable symptoms of CSM are often advised of surgical options.
There are several procedures that can be performed to help relieve pressure on the spinal cord. The procedure your doctor recommends will depend on many factors, including the symptoms, including severe or debilitating pain, duration of the noted symptoms, age of the patient and the areas of spinal cord involvement.