Cervical disc herniation is a leading cause of neck pain and accounts for long term disability in those who suffer from the complication. If you are living with a cervical disc herniation, it is important to understand not only what treatments may be afforded to you, but also what long term changes may occur as the condition continues to progressively worsen.
In treating cervical disc herniation, most physicians will ultimately recommend surgery to repair the herniation and to alleviate any nerve impingement that may be causing neck pain. For some patients, however, the use of cervical traction may be just as effective but typically this is the case when the traction is provided correctly. If your doctor is recommending treatments to you for your cervical herniated disc, it is important to ask about cervical traction and how it can improve, or complicate, your health over a longer period of time.
One of the long term health complications that can arise from cervical traction involves a risk for complications associated with the teeth. Because cervical traction requires the support of the chin, in most cases, some individuals report that there are orthodontic complications that arise from this form of treatment. It is important, therefore, that you ask your doctor how complications with your tooth mobility and loosening will be mitigated before agreeing to this type of treatment.
To prevent long term complications of an orthodontic nature, while treating your cervical herniated disc, the best options for treatment will include those that use a collaborative approach with the recommendations and advice of an orthodontist. Before undergoing cervical traction, you should first consider getting a full orthodontic work up to be sure that your teeth are healthy and strong to sustain the support and resistance placed upon them by a chin support system. In addition, your orthodontist may need to prescribe a mouthguard for use during cervical traction as a way to buffer any adverse affect on the teeth.
While there are many treatment options on the market for cervical herniated discs, most patients are well served by cervical traction if it is provided correctly. When using cervical traction, keep in mind that you may have long term tooth complications and be sure to ask about mouthguards and other orthodontic care that would provide a better health outcome for you overall.
Sources: Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, vol. 21 (2008), pp. 92-95.