Cervical Herniated Disc: Symptoms, Treatment Options
A cervical herniated disc is a dangerous disease due to injuries or heavy load on the spine.
Back pain is a frequent companion of people with a sedentary lifestyle. But if you do not visit the doctor on time, then even due to usual scoliosis, a complication of a herniated disc may occur. It will be much more difficult to get rid of such a disease.
What is a cervical herniated disc? Intervertebral discs reduce the pressure between the vertebrae. A hernia is a process by which their nuclei protrude into the spinal canal. This protrusion is due to the destruction of the annulus fibrosus, which normally surrounds the disc and evenly distributes pressure. If it collapses on one side, then the nucleus of the intervertebral disc comes out.
A cervical herniated disc can lead to spinal stenosis. In this case, the pain occurs due to pinching of the nerve roots near the vertebra. And due to the connection of nerve fibers with the spinal cord, the pain is not only concentrated in the damaged area of the back but can also spread to the arm or leg.
The primary cause of spinal stenosis is age-related changes. They affect the soft and hard tissues of both the vertebrae and ligaments, cartilaginous discs. Soft tissues serve for cushioning, help the spine to be in free movement. Their wear and tear can lead to negative changes.
Cervical herniated disc causes and symptoms
A herniated disc can develop anywhere in the spine. Localization will be indicated by shooting or pulling pain at the site of destruction of the cartilage. The area may enlarge and begin to hurt more with movement. In addition, the following symptoms indicate a hernia:
- aching pain in the limbs, shoulders, or chest;
- decreased mobility of the spine;
- decreased sensitivity and weakness in muscles in the legs or arms;
- neurological disorders: headaches, insomnia, changes in blood pressure, weakness, dizziness;
- disorders of the functions of the genitourinary system and intestines.
What exactly will show up from the symptoms depends on where the hernia is. Shoulder pain, numbness, and weakness in the arms are signs of damage to the cervical spine. With the destruction of the intervertebral disc in the lower back, problems with the intestines and pelvic organs will begin. Numbness and pain, in this case, will spread to the hips, feet, or legs completely.
- Age-related changes.
- Salt deposits.
- The appearance of an intervertebral hernia.
- Lipoma, epidurals, and other pathologies.
- Examination in pathology shows incomplete filling of the radicular pocket with a contrast agent.
Because of what a herniated disc develops, degenerative processes of intervertebral discs, like many other spine diseases, are caused by our unnatural skeleton position. The lumbosacral region is most susceptible to the destruction process; the entire mass of a person presses on it from above.
- Destruction of the intervertebral disc from protrusion to hernia. Of course, if you are a happy owner of excellent health and athletic build and lead an active lifestyle, you have nothing to fear. But suppose you have already been diagnosed with diseases of the spine (for example, osteochondrosis); in that case, your back muscles are poorly developed, or you have recently been injured, then the future likelihood of a hernia is very high.
- The vertebrae are already under tremendous pressure, and if the bodyweight is exceeded, they may simply not be able to withstand the heaviness; excess weight contributes to the destruction of the load of the fibrous ring. Also, the development of a hernia is influenced by factors such as the weakening of the body due to old age, autoimmune diseases, and impaired metabolism.
All this affects the strength of the cartilage and bones in the spine.
Diagnosis and treatment of cervical herniated disc
Diseases of the spine, including hernias, are dealt with by an orthopedist and a neurologist. You can also meet with other specialists, and the neurosurgeon will conduct the operation if necessary. And with conservative treatment, you will be referred to a physiotherapist, massage therapist, and exercise therapy specialist.
- Visual inspection has little to do with diagnosing a hernia. Of course, the doctor will ask you about the symptoms, but there is an overlap with other diseases.
- Since chest pain and numbness in the extremities can cause diseases of the internal organs or the brain, you will first get an x-ray of the spine.
- According to its results, one can understand whether there is a problem in the vertebrae or similar symptoms were caused by different diseases.
If the X-ray confirms the deformation of the intervertebral disc, then you will be directed to more accurate studies to examine the spinal cord and nearby nerves:
- MRI of the spine is considered the best type of diagnosis since the image will show soft tissues, nerve roots, and the structure of the spinal cord,
- CT of the spine is much more commonly used when injuries are suspected. CT is faster than MRI, but it has contraindications.
Treatment of cervical herniated disc
How can the cervical herniated disc be cured? Small protrusions in the intervertebral discs are treated conservatively. Various medications may be recommended for you:
- painkillers will help to cope with discomfort and discomfort;
- anti-inflammatory will stop pathological processes;
- vitamin and mineral complexes help to strengthen cartilage and bone tissue;
- the best treatment for the initial form of hernia is physiotherapy massage, electrophoresis, and manual therapy. Physiotherapy exercises and the prophylactic use of a corset and a bandage to restrict mobility proved excellent.
If therapy has not improved the situation for several months, then an operation is performed at any stage of the disease. If the disease has not long been started, then rehabilitation will not take long.
- What disease causes pain in the neck or between the shoulder blades, pain radiating to the arm, numbness, and tingling in the shoulders or arms?
Cervical Herniated Disc is a dangerous disease due to injuries or heavy load on the spine. A herniated disc can develop anywhere in the spine. Localization will be indicated by shooting or pulling pain at the site of destruction of the cartilage. The area may enlarge and begin to hurt more with movement. I
- What happens if a cervical herniated disc goes untreated?
If you experience any pain, you should see a doctor. If you do not treat the cervical herniated disc and begin to ignore the symptoms, severe muscle pain and partial paralysis may occur.
- Can a cervical herniated disc heal on its own?
In most cases, pain from the cervical herniated disc will go away within six months. But you still need to see your doctor for an examination and prescribe pain relievers.
- Does herniated cervical disc require surgery?
If you or a loved one is experiencing neck pain and/or arm pain, numbness, or weakness, surgical treatment such as cervical herniated disc surgery may be appropriate for your condition.
- What is the fastest way to heal a herniated disc?
Treatment with rest, pain medication, spinal injections, and physical therapy is the first step to recovery. Most people improve in 6 weeks and return to normal activity. If symptoms continue, surgery may be recommended.