These Methods Can Provide Real Relief from Herniated Disc Symptoms
A cervical herniated disc is one of the most common causes of neck pain, especially in people aged 30-50. Many times, a cervical herniated disc occurs over time as a result of wear and tear. In fact, a herniated disc can happen in any part of the spine, which has three main segments (top to bottom): cervical, thoracic, and lumbar.
If you’re suffering from sudden neck pain, don’t rule out the possibility of a disc problem. This article explains what it is, how it can happen, and the options for cervical herniated disc treatment in NYC.
What Is a Slipped Disc?
To understand what herniation means, it’s helpful to visualize the way the spine is constructed.
The spinal column is made up of vertebrae bones, which hold you upright and encase the spinal cord. The spinal cord stretches all the way from the brain to the tailbone. Between each vertebrae are the discs, which are spongy cushions that act like shock absorbers during your day-to-day life.
These discs have two major parts: the outer fibrous cartilage, and the gel-like substance inside. The outer layer normally keeps the gel contained. But when it tears or splits, that gel will leak out and may sometimes press on a nearby nerve. This is what it means to have a herniated, also known as a bulging disc.
While a cervical disc problem can be caused by a traumatic injury, the symptoms often appear spontaneously as a result of aging.
What Are Cervical Herniated Disc Symptoms?
Even a small herniation can cause significant pain because there is not much space available for the adjacent nerves. Arm pain can occur when the disc material presses on the cervical nerve, causing pain to radiate down the nerve in the arm. The arm pain tends to be the most severe in the initial stages of the nerve impingement.
Besides arm pain, tingling and numbness may be present in the arm and extend into the fingertips. Muscle weakness may also be experienced. Depending on the location of the bulging disc, you may present with slightly different symptoms:
C4-C5 Vertebrae: Herniation in this area may lead to shoulder pain and weakness in the upper arm muscle (deltoid), but does not typically cause the nerve symptoms of numbness and tingling.
C5-C6 Vertebrae: A slipped disc at this level may affect the strength of biceps and the wrist extensor muscles. Numbness and tingling may radiate to the thumb of the hand. This is a common place for a herniation to occur.
C6-C7 Vertebrae: A herniation at this spinal level may present as pain in the back of the shoulder that radiates down the back of the upper arm (triceps) to the top of the forearm and to the hand. Numbness and tingling may radiate to the long finger.
Cervical Herniated Disc Treatment in NYC
The pain of a slipped disc will often subside on its own, but people who continue to experience symptoms after six weeks should seek medical care. Rothman Orthopaedic Institute provides the latest and best treatment for cervical disc herniation. Most treatment options will fall into the following three categories:
Non-operative treatment: The vast majority of herniations (90%) do not require surgery. Conservative treatment starts with rest, with a cervical collar or neck brace used to stabilize the neck as it heals. Physical therapy is another essential component of recovering from any type of herniation. Exercises, traction, ultrasound, electrical muscle stimulation, and whirlpool treatments are techniques utilized by the physical therapists at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute. In cases where the patient is experiencing severe pain, an epidural steroid injection may be performed to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
Anterior cervical decompression and spinal fusion: This is the most common surgical method used to treat a cervical herniation. The purpose is to remove pressure on the spinal cord/nerve roots by removing the damaged disc and reconstructing the spinal cord. First, a discectomy (or surgical removal of the disc) is performed through an open incision. In order to prevent the spine from collapsing or other functional problems, the bones are fused together with a bone graft, plate, and screws.The bone graft fills the space between the vertebrae (where the disc was) for the spinal fusion.
Other herniated disc surgeries: The type of surgery recommended will depend on the severity and characteristics of the disc condition. Minimally-invasive techniques include foraminotomy, which is a method used to create space for the spinal nerve being pinched. The spinal surgeon will remove anything that is pressing on the nerve in the foramen, where the nerves pass through the spinal cord to other parts of the body. Disc replacement is another option for some patients, and this newer technique may help preserve the health of the other cervical discs located above or below the surgical level.
Seek Spinal Treatment at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute
Back and neck pain is sadly common, affecting more than 80% of adults at some point in their life. A qualified spine specialist at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute can help by selecting the most effective methods for treating your cervical herniation. We are a nationally-acclaimed practice with extensive clinical experience in the treatment of complex spinal conditions, performing over 3,000 operations annually. To learn more about receiving cervical herniated disc treatment in NYC, visit us here or call 1-800-321-9999 today.
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