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Failed Neck Syndrome Treatment Options

Most patients have satisfactory results after neck surgery. Yet there is a small percentage of patients that continue to have symptoms after surgery, even when the procedure is performed by highly skilled surgeons.

What are the treatment options for failed neck syndrome?

Treatment options for failed neck syndrome depend on the cause of the failure, and the amount of pain and disability it is causing. Treatment may be conservative, minimally invasive or supportive therapy.  If there is a structural cause for the pain, surgical intervention may be considered after a detailed workup.

Non-surgical treatment is aimed at addressing pain and improving physical function. Options for conservative management include:

  • Anti-inflammatory and pain medicines (NSAIDs, Tylenol, muscle relaxants, gabapentin, opioids)
  • Antidepressants and antiepileptics that are effective for nerve pain
  • Physical therapy to improve strength and flexibility
  • Cervical epidural steroid injections to reduce pain and inflammation

Surgical management may be indicated in carefully selected candidates if a surgically correctable abnormality is found. Examples of reasons for surgical intervention include misalignment, spinal imbalance, non-union (when a bone graft does not properly fuse the bones around it), nerve compression, or recurrent disc herniation.

For a recurrent herniated disc, the disc may need to be partially or completely removed with a microdiscectomy either via a tube or endoscopically using a small camera. For a non-union, another bone graft or bone graft substitute with possible hardware may be needed to stabilize the cervical spine. Sometimes, Dr. Singh is able to take down the incomplete fusion and convert it to a cervical disc replacement thereby restoring motion in the patient’s neck.

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When you or a loved one has recurrent or continued neck pain after surgical intervention, contact Chicago spine surgeon Dr. Kern Singh to schedule a consultation to receive the correct diagnosis and all your treatment options.

Dr. Kern Singh, MD is an internationally renowned spine surgeon specializing in outpatient minimally invasive and motion-preserving techniques and endoscopic spine surgery at Midwest Orthopaedics at RUSH and Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at RUSH University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Kern Singh is one of the nation’s Top 100 spine surgeons and is beloved by his patients for his compassionate care and excellent outcomes.  He welcomes nationally and internationally – based patients.


  • https://www.asianspinejournal.org/journal/view.php?doi=10.4184/asj.2018.12.3.574
  • InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Neck pain: Overview. 2010 Aug 24 [Updated 2019 Feb 14]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK338120/
  • Kazeminasab, S., Nejadghaderi, S.A., Amiri, P. et al. Neck pain: global epidemiology, trends and risk factors. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 23, 26 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12891-021-04957-4
  • https://health.ucdavis.edu/spine/specialties/failed_back_and_neck.html
At A Glance

Dr. Kern Singh

  • Minimally invasive and endoscopic spine surgeon
  • Inventor and surgeon innovator with multiple patents in spinal surgery and instrumentation
  • Author of more than 10 textbooks in minimally invasive spinal surgery
  • Learn more

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