A cervical bulging disc is a condition in which a bulging disc is located in the neck. Most cervical bulging discs are asymptomatic. However, if the bulging disc creates pressure on an adjacent spinal nerve, symptoms follow. The symptoms will most likely be felt in the neck, shoulders, scapular area, arms, forearms, and hands. It is important to note that, although a very rare occurrence, a cervical bulging disc can carry with it extra dangers. In some rare extreme cases, a bulging cervical disc may compress the spinal cord, leading to paralysis. Therefore, with this condition, you should urgently seek the advice of a physician.
The cervical (or neck) area of the spine consists of seven vertebrae labeled C1-C7. Each of these vertebrae is cushioned by round discs that serve as shock absorbers. They maintain cervical stability while allowing neck flexibility. With age, the outer fibrous portion of spinal discs desiccate. This decreases elasticity and increases vulnerability to injury. If a disc weakens, outward pressure from the disc core may stretch the outer fibrous rim and cause the disc to bulge. With further stretching, the disc bulge may tear. When core material escapes through the tear into the area around the disc, a herniated disc is created. When either a bulging disc or herniated disc material places pressure on surrounding nervous tissue, symptoms result.
Cervical disc bulging is primarily caused by aging. With aging, it is normal for the discs in our neck and spine to weaken and bulge. If the bulging disc presses upon nerves in the neck, the following symptoms can develop in the neck, scapular area, shoulders, arms, wrists, hands, and chest:
It is not unusual for the pain and tingling of a cervical bulging disc to radiate through the shoulders, scapular area, arms, forearms, hands, and fingers. Rarely, weakness and tingling can occur in the legs and other parts of the body when the spinal cord is compressed. People who suffer from these symptoms often find it increasingly difficult to function in everyday life. For those who want relief from their neck pain, doctors usually recommend medication, physical therapy, exercise, cervical traction, braces, injections, and other treatments.
In certain cases, cervical bulging disc symptoms last more than 2-3 months.If symptoms become prolonged or severe, surgery may be suggested. If surgery has been recommended for your bulging disc symptoms, we invite you to contact Laser Spine Institute. Inquire about our outpatient, minimally invasive procedures that may help you toward recovery.