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Cervical Herniated Disc Treatment

Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju
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Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

A cervical herniated disc is a dangerous disease that affects the intervertebral disc due to an injury in the neck resulting from an accident or sports activities.  As a result of the development of a hernia, blood circulation and the work of some organs are disrupted, and the lack of treatment leads to the risk of developing serious complications.

The disease is most often diagnosed in patients aged 30 to 50 years; men suffer from it prevailing. In terms of incidence, the cervical herniated disc is in second place after a hernia of the lumbar spine, but it is a more dangerous pathology due to the more fragile structure of the spine in the neck and the immediate proximity of the brain.

There are several ways to treat the disease:

  • Conservative (non-surgical) treatment. Drug therapy includes anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation and swelling, muscle relaxants to reduce muscle spasms, and strong analgesics to reduce intense pain. Mild to moderate pain is treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; they eliminate inflammation and pain. Physical therapy may be prescribed, which includes a combination of non-surgical therapies to relieve pain and increase range of motion (cold and heat therapy, gentle massage, neck traction, etc.).
  • Surgical cervical herniated disc treatment. The operation can be performed when conservative treatment does not reduce the severity of symptoms and when spinal cord contraction is expected. Disc removal may be performed to relieve nerve compression and neck pain.
  • Prevention of cervical herniated disc. Age-related degenerative changes are inevitable, but lifestyle changes can help prevent or delay the onset of cervical disc disease. 

Spinal Hernias and Their Types

To explain the concept of the cervical herniated disc, let’s see the anatomy. Intervertebral discs are between the vertebrae. They make the spine flexible and stable. Each disc consists of a nucleus pulposus (liquid filling) and an annulus fibrosus (hard membrane). In some cases, one careless movement can provoke a rupture of the annulus fibrosus. From the resulting crack, the liquid begins to flow from the nucleus pulposus, after which the nerve endings of the spinal cord are pinched. All this leads to the disk, like a compressed balloon, protruding to the side; this is how a hernia of the spine occurs.

There are three types of hernia:

  • Thoracic hernia is extremely rare and occurs in about 1% of cases.
  • Hernia of the cervical spine occurs in 19% of cases.
  • Lumbosacral hernia is quite common and occurs in 80% of cases.
  • The most dangerous are dorsal herniated discs, in which the disc is displaced in the direction of the dural canal, nerve roots.

What Provokes Hernia?

The causes of this disease can be very different. A hernia is often a complication of scoliosis, osteochondrosis, or lordosis. It can also develop after a spinal injury from a fall on the back of a strong blow.

In many patients, it occurs as a result of disc nutrition. With a low load of the deep muscles of the back, the nutrition of the discs deteriorates, and one sharp movement is enough to rupture the annulus fibrosus.

The main risk factors for a spinal hernia are:

  • inactive lifestyle
  • hypothermia
  • sharp movements: turn, fall, hit
  • excess weight
  • great physical activity
  • improper posture.

Herniated discs will require timely treatment since the disease causes gastritis, heart disorders and stroke, cerebral blood flow impairment, and pancreatitis. At the last stage of the disease, a hernia compresses the spinal cord and disrupts the pelvic organs’ function, and can also cause paralysis of the legs or arms.

Stages of cervical herniated disc formation

Stages of Cervical Herniated Disc Formation

  • Disk degeneration. Age-related changes, numerous injuries, a sedentary lifestyle, and other factors lead to decreased muscle tone and weakening, drying out, and destroying intervertebral discs, leading to damage to adjacent vertebrae and their deformation.
  • Disc protrusion. A phenomenon where part of the fibrous membrane is destroyed, resulting from which the nucleus goes beyond the allotted limits. At the same time, the outer part of the shell is preserved; therefore, the spread is limited and does not reach the spinal cord canal.
  • Disc extrusion. A situation where a complete rupture of the annulus fibrosus occurs, as a result of which some of the nucleus pulposus enters the spinal canal, which can lead to damage to the spinal cord or nerves extending from it.
  • Sequestered hernia. A case when the nucleus pulposus flows out of the discs. As a result, unbearable pain occurs, numbness of the arms or legs, muscle atrophy, the intoxication of the body. Without timely treatment, the disease can provoke paralysis of one or two hands.

Treatment of Cervical Herniated Disc

Hernia treatment is a long, multi-stage process. It can include:

  • intensive therapy is used to relieve inflammation and pain;
  • drug therapy –  pain relievers are often prescribed, muscle relaxants to relieve muscle spasms, chondroprotectors to restore cartilage tissue;
  • manual therapy involves the impact of hands-on the spine and intervertebral discs (performed by highly-skilled neurologists);
  • therapeutic massage, the specialist works on soft tissues to improve blood circulation and relieve muscle spasms;
  • physiotherapy exercises can be prescribed, a set of exercises to improve motor functions, increase blood circulation and nutrition of soft tissues surrounding the intervertebral discs;
  • surgical intervention is performed for large hernias when other methods are ineffective (in 15-20% of cases).

In most cases, conservative methods of drug and manual therapy, massage, and exercise therapy are used for the treatment of intervertebral hernias. This treatment can take several months. If it is ineffective or the hernia is large, the patient may need surgery.


  • What is the best treatment for herniated discs in the neck?

It is best to see your doctor if you have any symptoms or pain and prescribe the right solution. Usually, you will be prescribed conservative treatment or physical therapy, and only in some cases, doctors resort to surgical treatment.

  • How do they fix a herniated disc in the neck?

Among surgeons, the ACDF method is used. The doctor makes a small incision and removes the disc in the front of the neck.

  • How should I sleep with a herniated disc in my neck?

To sleep comfortably with the cervical herniated disc, you need to lie down to straighten your spine. Plus, lying on your side will help relieve pain.

  • What size of hernia is dangerous?

On average, for hernias of the cervical spine, the critical size is 5 mm, and for protrusion of the lumbosacral disc – 9 mm. But if the hernia is foraminal, surgery may be performed much earlier, and sometimes even with a hernia size of 3-4 mm.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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