As a common disease, cervical spondylosis (CS) results from the degeneration of the cervical intervertebral disc. However, there are still no effective clinical strategies for the treatment of this disease. Needle-scalpel (Ns), a therapy guided by traditional Chinese medicine theory, alleviates intervertebral disc degradation and is widely used in the clinic to treat CS. Stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1) and its receptor CXC receptor 4 (CXCR4) in nucleus pulposus cells play an important role in CS onset and development. This study aimed to explore whether Ns can relieve pain and regulate the SDF-1/CXCR4 axis in nucleus pulposus cells to inhibit apoptosis, thereby delaying cervical intervertebral disc degradation in a rat model of CS. It was found that the Ns-treated groups exhibited higher mechanical allodynia scores than the model group, and H&E staining, MRI, and scanning electron microscopy revealed that Ns therapy inhibited intervertebral disc degeneration. Additionally, Ns therapy significantly inhibited increases in the RNA and protein expression levels of SDF-1 and CXCR4. Furthermore, these treatments alleviated the apoptosis of nucleus pulposus cells, which manifested as a decline in the proportion of apoptotic nucleus pulposus cells and inhibition of the decrease in the levels of Bcl-2/Bax. These findings indicated that Ns mitigated CS-induced pain, inhibited the apoptosis of nucleus pulposus cells, and alleviated intervertebral disc degeneration in CS rats. These effects may be mediated by specifically regulating the SDF-1/CXCR4 signaling axis. Based on these findings, we conclude that Ns might serve as a promising therapy for the treatment of CS.