A neck disc protrusion is a condition in which an intervertebral disc in the cervical region of the spine (the neck) has pushed beyond its normal cylindrical boundaries, invading the surrounding spaces. Pain and other symptoms occur when such a protrusion presses on nerve roots or the spinal cord.
To better understand the discomfort that a neck disc protrusion can cause, consider the many simple activities, like nodding, reading, laughing, sleeping or driving, that rely on the smooth motion and structural integrity of the neck. Naturally, any part of the body with this much responsibility wears out after years of work. The sections of the spine that undergo some of the most wear and tear are the intervertebral discs. Intervertebral discs are shock-absorbing pads located between the vertebrae. They help maintain the spinal structure while allowing a wide range of motion.
As the intervertebral discs weaken, they may lose their shape and push beyond their normal anatomic boundary. This process may create a bulge or protrusion of disc material that applies compressive pressure to surrounding spinal nerves. Thus, a disc protrusion in the neck, even if it is a mild disc protrusion, may cause radiating pain, tingling, numbness and loss of mobility.
When consulting your physician, try to be accurate and honest when describing symptoms associated with neck disc protrusion. The following questions are likely to be asked:
- Do you experience severe headaches?
- Do you ever feel a prolonged, dull ache in your neck?
- Do you feel sharp pain radiating down your shoulders and arms?
- Do your hands ever go numb?
- Do your arms and/or hands feel weak?
Those experiencing some or all of the above symptoms may have a cervical disc protrusion or another malady. A physician must make an accurate diagnosis to logically prescribe treatment. Treatment should begin with conservative measures. In some cases, however, patients may not respond to conservative treatment and surgery is prescribed. It is reasonable to determine the least invasive, most efficacious surgical treatment possible. Please consider the minimally invasive procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute, which provide shorter convalescent periods and fewer risks than traditional open spine surgeries of all types. Contact us today for a review of your MRI or CT scan, and to receive more information.