I had a cervical fusion many years ago. I'm eighty-two years old now, and I don't want surgery again. How can I take care of the pain in my neck without having another operation?

Surgery is rarely the first choice of treatment for neck pain. It may be suggested if you develop muscle weakness, pressure on the spinal cord, or severe pain that doesn't go away. And knowing your desire to avoid another surgery, your doctor will likely suggest ways other than surgery to help you take care of your neck pain.

Along with medication to help ease pain and inflammation, doctors may prescribe "first aid" measures such as heat or ice. Try to avoid activities that tend to increase your pain. If you continue to have problems, your doctor may suggest that you visit a physical therapist. Working with a therapist can help ease pain and improve neck mobility, strength, and posture.