Cervical discogenic disease — an overview

Cervical discogenic disease is a term that describes the degeneration of the discs in your spine, specifically in the cervical (upper) region, which runs from the base of the skull to the top of the ribcage. Discogenic disease, also known as degenerative disc disease, is often a natural part of the aging process, which causes the discs in your spine wear down over time. However, there are a number of other potential causes for this condition, as well as some serious symptoms that can possibly develop.

If you have been diagnosed with cervical discogenic disease, it can have a debilitating impact on your life. The following information can help you better work with your primary care physician to develop a treatment plan to get you back to a healthy, active life.

Symptoms of discogenic disease

Cervical discogenic disease occurs when the discs between the vertebrae in this part of the spine wear out, bulge or become herniated. This can occur for a variety of reasons, including aging, genetics, injury, overuse, improper lifting and more. A deteriorated disc is not necessarily painful by itself, but it can cause symptoms if any part of the disc interferes with a spinal nerve. Symptoms of cervical discogenic disease include:

  • Localized or radiating pain
  • Stiffness
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Muscle weakness

Preventing and treating discogenic disease

Although you can’t stop the natural aging process, there are a number of steps you can take under a physician’s supervision to discourage the onset of cervical discogenic disease. These include:

  • Exercise
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Eat right
  • Improve your posture
  • Modify activities to avoid stress on the neck and back
  • Short periods of rest at the first sign of inflammation

There are a variety of nonsurgical treatment options available to individuals with discogenic disease — including physical therapy, acupuncture, exercise, hot and cold therapy and more — but surgery is a potential solution in some cases. Most physicians will usually present it as an option when a full course of conservative treatment has been attempted without an improvement in symptoms. This is because traditional open back procedures are highly invasive, requiring hospitalization followed by a long and difficult recuperation.

Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive spine surgery that is an alternative to the risks and difficulties that go with traditional procedures. Our surgeons use a small muscle-sparing incision to access the spine, leading to a shorter recovery time with less surgical scarring.^

Contact us today for your no-cost MRI review* to see if you are a potential candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures.