Is Surgery Necessary for Neck Pain after a Car Accident?

Last Editorial Review: 1/11/2018

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My car was hit from the rear at about 70 mph as I was turning into a driveway. The impact sent my car flying more than 100 yards. The car nose dived over a culvert, the front hit the ground and continued on. I had my seat belt on. My head whipped twice that I remember; my glasses came off; and the collision broke the front seat from the bolts and the back of the seat. I was dazed three to four minutes, but felt nothing else. Approximately 2 hours later, I started feeling stiffness and pain. I went in to the chiropractor that day. I have been under treatment since with my doctor and chiropractor. Heat, TENS, ultrasound, adjustments, and gentle muscle massage have comprised the treatmen. I am still in great pain at 5 months. An MRI was done and found to have C4 C5 lg hern.

Doctor's response

The primary indication for surgery is progressively increasing numbness or weakness in your arms or legs. Neck pain and stiffness are not indications for surgery.

A surgical consult is to evaluate your symptoms and findings and correlate them with your MRI. The presence of a disc herniation by itself is not an indication for surgery.

You should see either an Orthopedic or Neurologic Surgeon that treats spinal problems.

Thank you for your question.