If pain stemming from the C6-C7 spinal segment doesn’t go away on its own within a few days a physician should be consulted in order to diagnose the underlying cause of the symptoms.
If there is progressively worsening numbness, weakness, tingling, loss of balance, or alterations in bowel or bladder habits, or other concerning symptoms, a physician should be consulted immediately as the symptoms may represent a medical emergency.
Nonsurgical Treatment for C6-C7 Problems
As a general rule, in the majority of cases nonsurgical care for most neck problems should be tried first.
Common treatment options include, but are not limited to:
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic care
- Injections, such as a cervical epidural steroid injection
- In some cases, cervical traction can be effective and portable units are available so this can be done multiple times a day at home.
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Surgery for C6-C7 Pain and/or Neurological Symptoms
If the pain or associated symptoms aren’t adequately controlled with nonsurgical methods, surgery could become the best approach to treating symptoms. Commonly performed surgeries to treat certain neck conditions at the C6-C7 segment include:
- Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion—or ACDF—which may treat a disc problem at the C6-C7 level
- Cervical decompression—such as a cervical laminectomy, laminotomy or foraminotomy—which may be an option for treating cervical spinal stenosis symptoms
- Cervical artificial disc replacement—which may treat pain and other symptoms from a cervical herniated disc
Surgery for cervical spine problems is almost always the patient's decision. While most patients will be able to resolve and/or successfully manage their symptoms with nonsurgical treatments, for some surgery may be the best course of treatment.