The third most common pain for Americans is neck pain, according to the National Institutes of health. In many cases it can be managed through non-invasive treatment options, but when surgery is necessary, easing pain while maintaining mobility is a major concern for many patients.
Irene Roussos loves working with animals, but the effects of a neck injury from an automobile accident made the simplest tasks almost unbearable.
"I couldn't hold things couldn't make fists couldn't restrain an animal," she said.
Bruce Bostom also suffered in pain for years after a childhood neck injury.
"Over time, it got worse, had horrible headaches and my right arm numb all the time," he explained.
Both Bostom and Roussos turned to Dr. Jeffrey Cantor of the South Florida Spine Clinic for procedures that could ease their pain without compromising their function.
"The old goal was get the pressure off the nerve. The new goal is to get the pressure off the nerve and keep it working," said Cantor.
Cantor accomplished that with a procedure called Cervical Laminoplasty, where a hinge device is used to maintain mobility.
"It maintains all the bones in the neck because we're not fusing one bone to another so all the bones are able to move independently because we're not fusing them together," he explained.
Since her surgery, Roussos no longer suffers from debilitating migraines and arm pain.
"I'm a new person Dr. Cantor changed my life, he literally changed my life," she said. "There is nothing that I can't do. If I don't do it it's because I'm probably still afraid to do it, but I can do it. I can do anything better than before my surgery, probably anything better than before my injury."
Procedures with screws and rods used to be the norm for cervical problems, but now advances in technology and techniques allow surgeons to do motion sparing procedures in the majority of cases.