Herniated disc in the neck

One of the most frequently diagnosed causes of chronic neck pain and related discomfort in the shoulders, arms and hands is a herniated disc in the neck (cervical spine). This happens when a cervical disc ruptures and material from the center is pushed out, potentially pinching a nerve. The pain you experience from this condition can be very debilitating, and seeking treatment is important to regain the quality of life you deserve.

Symptoms of a herniated disc in the neck

While a herniated disc in the neck (cervical herniated disc) is less common than in the lower back (herniated lumbar disc), cervical discs are still prone to injury and age-related deterioration. The pain experienced from a herniated disc in the neck is usually due to disc material compressing on a nerve. Common specific symptoms described are shooting pain, numbness and muscle weakness in the different parts of the body. Since the spinal nerve roots exit at different vertebrae (numbered C1-7), it is actually possible to estimate the location of a herniated disc in the neck based on the location of the symptoms:

  • Head and neck (C1-C2)
  • Diaphragm (C3)
  • Shoulders, arms and hands (C4, C7)
  • Wrists (C5-C6)

Treatment options

Depending on the severity and location of the affected disc, many effective herniated disc treatments exist. A physician may first suggest a conservative, nonsurgical approach to relief. Common methods can include hot and cold compresses, pain medication, physical therapy or lifestyle changes.

If weeks or months of these methods have not brought you needed relief, you and your doctor may then begin to discuss surgery. The surgeons and staff at Laser Spine Institute perform minimally invasive spine surgery to relieve the pain caused by a herniated disc in the neck. They can even perform minimally invasive stabilization procedures in the neck as an alternative to fusion surgery. These are outpatient procedures that can save you months of painful recovery^ and the expense of an overnight hospital stay.

Contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more and to request a review of your MRI or CT scan.

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