Is your stiff, sore neck just a muscular problem or something else? For many people in the United States, neck pain comes from a herniated or bulging disc in the cervical area of the spine. Thankfully, you don’t have to suffer.
Here are five proven cures for cervical disc herniation pain.
What Is Cervical Disc Herniation?
Cervical discs are cushions or spacers between the seven bones of the neck. Discs allow for free and flexible movement of the spinal column. However, they are prone to deterioration and injury. One of the most frequently occurring conditions is cervical disc herniation.
Discs are composed of a fibrous outer capsule and an inner jelly-like substance. When struck in a fall, sports collision, motor vehicle accident, or due to deterioration from aging and/or arthritis, a disc can herniate.
Cervical disc herniation involves the bulging of the gel-like nucleus against– or even through–the outer disc capsule. Pain, poor range of motion, numbness, and tingling in the neck, shoulder, and arms can result as the disc presses on nearby nerves and bones.
For many people, the symptoms of cervical disc herniation resolve without treatment. However, individuals who have prolonged problems that interfere with their daily routines, ambulation, or bowel/bladder function should seek evaluation by a spine doctor.
1. Pain Medications
Take NSAIDS (or prescription medications) for pain, and apply heat or cold packs to the neck. Disc herniation pain can be relieved through medication very effectively, especially if the herniation is mild or moderate.
Be sure to rest from strenuous activities, particularly sports and heavy lifting. However, do not add to the pain and stiffness with prolonged bed rest. Rather, engage in walking, swimming, or other light aerobic activities to tolerance to increase circulation and flexibility. The trick is to find the right balance between rest and low-impact exercise.
3. Physical Therapy (PT)
After an in-office assessment with a spine doctor, you can undergo a customized program of physical therapy. PT often involves:
- Stretching to release muscle tightness
- Weight training to build strength
- Heat and cold application
- Massage therapy
- Ultrasound therapy
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
The purpose of physical therapy is to strengthen the structures in the spine, so the herniation doesn’t cause symptoms, such as pain.
4. Spinal Injections
For some people, injections of corticosteroid medication relieve inflammation and the pain resulting from herniated discs. Often combined with local anesthetic and guided by digital imaging, these injections cannot put discs back in place, but they do reduce or eliminate the irritation on spinal nerves adjacent to the faulty discs.
Microdiscectomy, or microdecompression, is today’s gold standard in operative treatments for herniated discs in the neck. The relatively brief surgery involves the removal of the damaged portion of the cervical disc and the stabilization of the spine. Patients usually return to their everyday activities quickly–often within a couple of weeks or so.
Cervical Disc Herniation Treatment in Rochester Hills, Lapeer or Bad Axe, MI
Our professional team, led by a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Bradley Ahlgren, has helped countless adults achieve pain-free, fully functional spine health through a wealth of experience and expertise. To learn more about how to relieve herniated cervical disc pain, please contact us for a complete evaluation at our Rochester Hills, Lapeer, or Bad Axe, MI, locations: (248) 215-8080. Or, request your consultation online by completing an appointment request form.