Cervical disc protrusion — symptoms and treatment options

Cervical disc protrusion is a condition in which one of the discs of the cervical (upper) spine has bulged or protruded beyond its normal perimeter, usually as a result of natural age-related degeneration.

While this is not necessarily painful, the protruding disc could potentially touch a nerve in the nearby spinal canal, resulting in neck pain and other symptoms. Because the nerves in the cervical spinal canal travel between the neck, shoulder, arm and hand, the pain and symptoms could be felt locally or they could be radiating into the nearby extremity. Common symptoms associated with a cervical disc protrusion include:

  • Chronic, local pain in the neck
  • Numbness and tingling in the arms and hands
  • Traveling pain radiating along the nerve throughout the arm
  • Muscle weakness in the shoulders, arms and elbows

The type of pain and symptoms you experience is directly dependent on the location and severity of the damaged disc. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms for more than one week, you should consult your physician to determine if you have a condition such as a protruding disc in your neck.

Treatment options for cervical disc protrusion

Many times, symptoms can be managed with a conservative treatment plan that incorporates exercise, rest, heat application and pain medication. Occasionally, however, a patient will not respond to nonsurgical treatment, which means that surgical treatment may be the next option.

As an alternative to a highly invasive traditional open back surgery, Laser Spine Institute performs minimally invasive spine procedures designed to address cervical disc protrusion and other spine conditions, while avoiding many of the downsides associated with traditional open spine surgery.

For example, our minimally invasive discectomy procedure is performed through a less than 1-inch incision that spares surrounding muscles. During our minimally invasive procedure, the protruded part of the disc is removed to relieve pressure on the trapped nerve root.

In some situations, our surgeons will perform a stabilization procedure immediately after a discectomy. This happens when the entire damaged disc is removed and an implant must be inserted to stabilize the spine. This procedure is often used for patients with severely protruding discs in the cervical spine.

Reach out to Laser Spine Institute

If you are suffering from chronic pain and symptoms, it’s time to start your journey to wellness. Your first step is to contact our team for a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan* and help you determine if you’re a potential candidate for one of our procedures.