C1 – C7 disc protrusion

C1 – C7 disc protrusion is a spine condition that affects one or more of the seven discs in the cervical (upper) spine that are labeled C1 to C7.

Typically, the discs in the spine provide cushioning for the vertebrae, as well as give the neck range of motion and flexibility. This mobility, however, combined with the burden of supporting the head’s weight, makes the discs particularly prone to damage from regular wear and tear or injury.

Think about how many times a day the head turns or tilts. Each of these small movements requires the discs in the cervical spine to bend and flex in order to allow the vertebrae to move. Years of this continual motion can cause the discs to wear down over time, possibly leading to the development of disc protrusion or another spine condition.

Symptoms of a C1 – C7 disc protrusion

While a disc protrusion in the neck can often go unnoticed, it can lead to a number of symptoms if the disc presses against a nerve root or the spinal cord. Cervical disc protrusion symptoms include:

  • Neck pain
  • Stiffness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness
  • Tingling

The specific symptoms depend on the location of the disc protrusion. In addition to the seven cervical vertebrae, there are eight cervical nerves (C1 to C8) that exit the spine through the cervical vertebrae. These nerve roots send and receive signals throughout specific regions of the body. If one of these nerves is compressed, the symptoms could be sent to the following associated areas of the body:

  • C1 – C3 — neck and skull
  • C4 — lower neck, upper shoulders and arms
  • C5 — neck, shoulders, arms and wrists
  • C6 – C7 — upper back, shoulders, arms, hands and fingers
  • C8 — upper back, lower shoulders, arms and hands

Treatment for C1 – C7 disc protrusion

A conservative treatment plan is often an effective method to manage disc protrusion symptoms. Surgery is normally only reserved for patients who have not found pain relief from physical therapy, medications, corticosteroid injections and other conservative treatments.

For patients recommended spine surgery to treat a disc protrusion affecting any of the C1 – C7 discs, there is an alternative to traditional open neck surgery. The minimally invasive spine surgery performed at Laser Spine Institute offers patients a shorter recovery time^ and lower risk of complication than traditional open neck surgery. Because our procedures are performed in outpatient surgery centers, patients can avoid the hospital-associated costs associated with traditional procedures.

To learn more about our spine procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute today. We can provide you with a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.