When you’re stressed or simply slept in a crooked posture the night before, you may feel pain in your neck and shoulders. Because of this, you may tend to ignore neck pain and figure it will go away. However, neck pain may also be a symptom of a spine condition called a cervical disc herniation.
The cervical spine is the uppermost part of the spine, located in your neck area. Cervical disc herniation is when you have a herniated disc in the cervical spine, thereby causing neck pain or arm pain. This is because a herniated disc can compress a nerve in that part of the spinal cord.
What Are the Spinal Discs?
The spinal discs are rubbery cushions between each set of two vertebrae in your spine. Each disc is made of cartilage, with a soft center called the nucleus and a firmer exterior called the annulus. A herniated disc occurs when the nucleus pushes out through a rupture in the annulus.
Your discs may experience wear-and-tear and natural age-related loss of hydration. When the discs dry out or are damaged, they can crack open – and the soft interior can leak out (herniate). Weight, genetics, smoking, and physical activities and sports may also increase your risk of developing a herniated disc.
Symptoms of Cervical Disc Herniation
Not all people experience signs of a herniated disc when it occurs in the neck. In cases where there are symptoms, some of the commonly reported conditions are the following:
- Burning pain. Cervical disc herniation can cause radiating pain in your shoulder, arm, and hand. In rare cases, neck pain can even spread to your leg and cause pain whenever you cough, sneeze, or move into certain positions.
- Numbness. The affected nerves will also cause a numbing or tingling sensation in the affected area.
- The affected nerves can also cause weakness, particularly making you lose your arm strength. This can impact your ability to lift and hold objects.
Treatment for Herniated Cervical Discs
Exercise, maintaining good posture, and following healthy habits can all help prevent a herniated disc. However, if you do develop a cervical disc herniation, there are several treatment options:
- Pain medicine. Your doctor may recommend that you take over-the-counter pain-relief medication, or the doctor may give you a prescription.
- Cortisone injections. If pain medication does not work, your doctor may give you a corticosteroid The physician will inject it directly into the affected area around the spinal nerves.
- Muscle relaxers. If you experience muscle spasms, muscle relaxers may be a good option. This medication may make you feel dizzy and lethargic, so you may be advised against operating heavy machinery (such as driving) when you are taking it.
- Physical therapy. A physical therapist can teach you stretches and special exercises to help relieve your pain and discomfort caused by the herniated disc in your neck.
- If nothing else provides relief and the pain is chronic, you may seek surgical treatment for your herniated disc.
Cervical Disc Treatment in Greater Detroit, Michigan
If you are suffering from pain in your neck or back area that is not going away, schedule an appointment with board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Bradley Ahlgren. Here at Ahlgren Spine, we have more than 25 years of experience in spine care, and we can help you find relief from your pain and discomfort.
We have convenient locations in Rochester Hills, Bad Axe, and Lapeer. Contact us today by calling our team at (248) 215-8080 or request an appointment via our online form now. We look forward to helping you get past the pain and back on with life!