As we get older, various parts of our body can become drier and more brittle – including the discs in our spine. If the tough outer portion of a disc becomes too dry, it can crack, and the inner soft disc material can “leak” or protrude through the herniation and onto nearby nerves in the spinal cord.
A herniated disc can also occur due to a heavy-labor profession or a high-intensity activity, such as lifting or pulling a heavy object, or playing a sport. The force of the impact on the back can cause a tear in a disc.
While most herniated discs occur in the lower back (lumbar region of the spine), the discs in the cervical (neck) region or the thoracic (mid-back) region can also become herniated. When the rupture creates irritation on the nearby nerves in the spine, it can cause pain, tingling, and weakness.
The pain can also spread to other parts of the spine, and it can affect the areas of the body which are controlled by the nerves in that part of the spinal cord. Let’s talk about some of the symptoms that can indicate a herniated cervical disc, and where you can go in Southeast Michigan to see a world-class orthopedic cervical disc herniation doctor who will help you get back to your active lifestyle.
Sharp and Burning Back Pain or Neck Pain
Most patients describe the pain of a herniated disc as sharp and burning. The symptoms depend on the precise location of the disc and of the herniation in the disc itself, which determines which direction the herniation protrudes.
For a cervical herniated disc (i.e., a herniated disc in the neck area, or the cervical spine), you may feel pain in your neck or near your shoulder blades. The pain might radiate to the arms, hands, and even all the way to your fingers.
In contrast, with a lumbar herniated disc, the pain usually occurs in the buttocks, thigh, calf, and foot. A herniated disc occurs much less frequently in the thoracic spine, in the mid-back, but symptoms can include severe numbness. All of these symptoms warrant visiting a disc herniation doctor as soon as possible.
Numbness and Tingling in the Spine Area
While a herniated disc usually affects only one side of the body, it can affect both sides. In the case of a cervical disc herniation, you may experience numbness or a pins-and-needles sensation in the neck, shoulder, and arm.
For a lumbar herniated disc, the numbness and tingling usually spread to the lower extremities. Over time, it can cause a complication known as saddle anesthesia, which is a progressive loss of sensation that affects the thighs, back of the legs, and areas around the rectum.
Cervical Disc Herniation Doctor in Rochester Hills, MI
For comprehensive spine care and treatment for neck pain, visit the leading cervical disc herniation doctor in Southeast Michigan. Dr. Bradley Ahlgren is a board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon who specializes in the spine, and he can efficiently and effectively diagnose and treat your spinal disorder – including herniated discs.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ahlgren, contact our friendly staff today by calling us at (248) 215-8080 or by filling out our online appointment request form. We serve Rochester Hills, Bad Axe, Royal Oak, and the surrounding communities. Let us help you achieve long-lasting pain relief!