Neck Herniated Disc

What is a herniated disc in the neck?

The cervical spine is constructed of the bones or vertebrae in your spine. A herniated disc in the neck, a cervical herniated disc, a bulging disc in the neck, or a “slipped disc” are all common ways of referring to what happens when the inner core of a disc in your neck bulges out and presses on an adjoining nerve root. A cervical disc herniation can be the result of a trauma or neck injury, but symptoms can start from overuse such as sitting with a jutted chin hours everyday.  Age can play a role as well, since our discs can lose their flexibility over time, making the ligaments surrounding them more susceptible to tearing.

What are the symptoms of a herniated disc in the neck?

Although there are certain types of pain associated with a cervical disc herniation, we’re all wired differently, so it’s very possible for symptoms to vary from person to person.

Typically, a herniated disc in the neck can cause referred pain into the shoulders, arms, and hands. The pain you feel and how you feel it is mostly determined by the exact location of the bulging disc in question. When arm pain results from a herniated disc in the neck, it’s because the disc, which is pinching or pressing on the cervical nerve, causes pain to extend along the nerve pathway down your arm. You might also feel tingling or numbness throughout your arm and into your fingertips. Muscle weakness in the arms and your grip are also a possibility.

 Arm pain is usually most intense when your nerve first gets pinched. Even a relatively small cervical disc herniation can cause significant pain.

How do we treat a herniated disc in the neck?

Some people with a herniated disc in the neck will get better without treatment, but assessment and treatment can speed up recovery and future prevention. We thoroughly assess your injury, your history, and symptoms. To start, we may use Active Release Technique, to help reduce muscle spasms. Temporarily avoiding activities that exacerbate the pain is also in order. These might include actions involving heavy lifting or prolonged poor posture while sitting.

Physical therapy and exercise is integral to your healing process. The McKenzie Method is an assessment and treatment tool  used to extend the spine to centralize the bulging disc by moving it away from its source. We may also counsel gentle chiropractic adjustments to help reduce immobile joints and get you moving freely again. We also use NeuroKinetic Therapy to see why the discs in the neck are compressing, whether they are overworking or trying to help find stability that another part in the body is lacking. The body will heal naturally on its own but our goal is to get you back to what you love to do, faster and pain free.