Herniated Cervical Disc
Cushions between the vertebrae in the upper back and neck are known as cervical discs. When the inner disc material ruptures or herniates through the outer cervical disc, a herniated cervical disc occurs.
This condition typically arises in individuals between the ages of 30 and 50. In most cases, it is caused by the normal aging process or too much stress placed on the disc because of trauma or heavy lifting.
Symptoms of a Herniated Cervical Disc
There are a number of symptoms you may experience if you are living with a herniated cervical disc. Some of these symptoms include:
- Pain that radiates to the arms, hands, or fingers
- Numbness or tingling in the shoulder, arm, or hands
- Weakness of the hands or arms
You may find that certain movements or positions worsen the pain. In the event the disc material pushes on your spinal cord, you may notice more serious symptoms such as:
- Challenges with fine motor skills in the hands and arms
- A strange gait
- Feelings of tingling in the torso or legs
Diagnosing a Herniated Cervical Disc
If you display any symptoms of a herniated cervical disc, you should visit a spine doctor as soon as possible. They will conduct a physical exam and ask you questions about your symptoms and medical history. A variety of diagnostic tests such as x-rays, MRIs, and CT scans may be performed to confirm your diagnosis.
Treating a Herniated Cervical Disc
Fortunately, herniated discs can be resolved through conservative treatments including physical therapy exercises that can help relieve pressure on the nerve root and anti-inflammatory pain medications to reduce swelling and inflammation.
Epidural steroid injections may also be an option in some cases. In the event your pain lasts more than 6 to 12 weeks and does not improve with the help, spine surgery may be recommended. A minimally invasive spinal fusion which involves fusing together two or more vertebrae can stabilize your spine and provide you with relief.
Preventing a Herniated Cervical Disc
Herniated cervical discs can be prevented. To reduce your risk of developing one, perform exercises to strengthen your abdominal muscles to support your back and improve your posture. Using proper form when lifting by lifting with your knees and maintaining a healthy weight can all help.
Contact Pacific Spine
If you are showing symptoms of a herniated cervical disc, it is in your best interest to reach out to our spine specialists today to schedule an appointment. We’ll evaluate your condition and let you know how you can find the relief you deserve.