A bulging disc in the neck can literally cause a severe “pain in the neck.” Also known as a cervical bulging disc, this condition results from disc deterioration due to aging and it can also be caused by a trauma, such as an accident, that places stress on the neck.
The symptoms of a cervical bulging disc can include:
- Pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling in the neck at or near the spot in the spinal column where the bulging disc is located
- Pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling radiating from the neck to the shoulders, arms, hands, wrists, and fingers
- Stiffness and headaches
- Other symptoms
A bulging disc in the neck can involve any of the intervertebral discs in between the C1-C7 vertebrae, or cervical vertebrae. Like all intervertebral discs, these discs are made up of a spongy fibro cartilaginous material that acts as a natural shock absorber. The discs provide an excellent cushion in between the rigid, bony vertebrae, allowing the back and neck to move and flex. When a disc bulges, however, it expands out of its normal space in the spinal canal. If this bulge starts pushing on nerve roots or the spinal cord, the nerves become irritated and pain and other symptoms result.
These disc bulges most often occur as a result of age. Over the years, our intervertebral discs tend to weaken and become misshapen, resulting in a bulge. A trauma or injury to the neck can also cause this bulging action. Similarly, a damaged disc also can break open which can cause disc material to leak out into the spinal canal. This condition is called a herniated disc or ruptured disc.
If you have neck pain and you have been diagnosed with a bulging disc in the neck, your doctor may recommend rest, physical therapy, exercise, over-the-counter medications, or a neck brace. If your symptoms don’t go away with these treatments, your doctor may try a corticosteroid injection to reduce inflammation of the nerve roots that are being pinched, or squeezed by the bulging disc.
If these treatments fail and your pain is so debilitating that it is affecting your ability to work or enjoy leisure activities, then your doctor may recommend traditional disc surgery. Neck surgery to treat a cervical bulging disc often involves hospitalization, general anesthesia, a large incision, and an extensive recovery period.
However, you do have an alternative: the revolutionary procedures at Laser Spine Institute. We offer minimally invasive endoscopic procedures performed on an outpatient basis. For more information on our procedures, click on LSI bulging disc surgery and contact us for a free review of your MRI or CT scan.