Dr. Kamal Thapar, MD., PhD., FRCSC., FAANS
1200 Oakleaf Way, Suite A, Altoona, WI 54720

Cervical Spine Instability

Cervical spine instability is a condition that occurs in which the vertebrae in the neck do not line up properly. This movement can cause pain, deformity, or a neurologic deficit such as weakness or lack of coordination.


– Degenerative disc disease

– Arthritis of the spine

– Disc herniation

– Previous traumatic injury to the neck


– Neck pain

– Arm pain

– Numbness and tingling

– Pain is aggravated with certain neck movements (bending forward and bending backward)


In order to confirm the diagnosis of cervical spine instability a combination of imaging studies may be necessary including x-rays, CT, and/or MRI scans based on each individual’s symptoms.


Depending on the severity of instability and the level of the spine affected, conservative management may or may not be an option for an individual. Conservative management consists of physical therapy and medications. Surgical intervention for instability in the cervical spine would involve an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. In some cases additional surgery is necessary; which would involve a posterior cervical fusion.