Cervical degenerative disc disease typically manifests itself as a sore, stiff neck. However, anatomic change resulting from cervical degenerative disc disease may result in nerve compression and pain which radiates into your shoulders, arms, and hands, as well.
The cervical spine is located in the neck and upper back area, and it consists of seven vertebrae separated by discs filled with a gel-like substance. These discs allow the neck to turn and bend freely. Cervical degenerative disc disease occurs when the discs wear out due to years of turning and twisting, or are damaged in traumatic injury. You can learn more about the causes and symptoms of neck disc degeneration on our degenerative disc disease page.
As the discs break down, the spacing between the vertebrae narrows and nerve roots may become pinched. Over time, the neck loses flexibility. Pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers may result from the cervical nerve compression or irritation.
Disc degeneration in the neck occurs less frequently than in the lower back. Visit our lumbar degenerative disc disease page for more detailed information concerning lumbar degenerative disc disease.
Treatment for cervical degenerative disc disease can include:
- Application of cold or hot packs
- Taking over-the-counter pain and anti-inflammatory medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen
- Cervical traction to stretch the neck muscles
- Wearing of a neck brace
If you are experiencing a stiff neck, or numbness in the shoulder or arm, contact your physician. He or she can determine the cause of your suffering and recommend treatments to reduce your discomfort. In some cases, patients may not respond to conservative rehabilitation and surgery may be indicated. Consider the minimally invasive endoscopic outpatient procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute. They offer a shorter recovery period than traditional open cervical surgery. Contact Laser Spine Institute today for a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan, and to receive additional information about Laser Spine Institute.