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When Is Surgery Necessary for a Neck Injury?

Doctor checking neck brace of his patient in medical office

Your neck is a complex structure of spinal bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, muscles, and nerves. Any one of those components can sustain damage in a fall or a motor vehicle accident, leading to severe acute or perhaps even chronic pain. And in some cases, patients need ongoing medical interventions, which may occasionally include surgery. The decision to have surgery is not one to make lightly. In addition to the practical considerations (medical costs, hospitalization, and lost time at work), there are potential health and safety risks associated with every surgery. Only a qualified surgeon can tell you if surgery might be a good option for you.

When your symptoms are debilitating

Neck injuries can range from mild to severe. If you suffer from mild to moderate symptoms, you might not be a good candidate for surgery. Be specific when describing your symptoms to your doctor. Your doctor may find it helpful to know if you generally have a low or high pain tolerance.

Another consideration is the extent to which your symptoms interfere with your daily activities. Tell your doctor if you’re unable to work, perform self-care tasks, do tasks around the house, or play with your kids or grandkids.

When you’ve already tried conservative treatment options

Surgery is almost always considered a last resort option. Talk to your doctor about the treatments you’ve already tried. Most patients with moderate to severe neck injuries try over-the-counter or prescription-strength pain relievers and anti-inflammatories, heat and cold therapy, and gentle stretching. If you haven’t yet worked with a physical therapist, your doctor may ask you to schedule some sessions before considering surgery. Chiropractic care can also be very helpful for neck injuries, particularly whiplash.

When there is an identified anatomical cause of your pain

Before determining whether you’re a good candidate for neck surgery, your doctor will ask you to undergo some imaging studies. They may include x-rays and a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. One of the things your doctor will look for is whether there is an anatomical cause of your symptoms. If so, then you may benefit from surgery. For example, you may have suffered disc herniation during the accident. In this case, the surgeon may remove the herniated portion of the disc to relieve your symptoms.

When is it time to pursue a personal injury claim in Los Angeles, CA?

You may be eligible to file a personal injury claim if your neck injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions. Car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle crashes are all common causes of neck injuries, as are slip and fall incidents. In all of these types of accidents, there’s a possibility that someone else may be held accountable for your injury.

There is a deadline to filing a neck injury lawsuit, so talk with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer right away. Sean Salamati has served residents of LA and throughout southern California for two decades. Our firm takes on complex cases, and we have a long track record of successful legal advocacy services. Call us today for your free consultation at 855-544-0776. We can improve your chances of recovering compensation for your missed time at work, medical expenses, and poor quality of life because of your neck injury.

Additional resources for neck injury patients

  1. Everyday Health, When Surgery Is Needed for Neck Pain, https://www.everydayhealth.com/pain-management/neck-pain/surgery.aspx
  2. WebMD, What Surgeries Help with Neck Pain? https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/surgeries-neck-pain#1
  3. Spine Universe, Cervical Spine Surgery: Will You Need Surgery for Your Neck Pain? https://www.spineuniverse.com/conditions/neck-pain/cervical-spine-surgery-will-you-need-surgery-your-neck-pain
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