Cervical herniated disc is most commonly caused by the aging process where your spine undergoes wear and tear to develop a herniated disc in the neck. Repetitive activities and injury to the spine can also cause a cervical herniated disc.
What is a Cervical Herniated Disc?
A cervical disc acts as a cushion between your neck and upper back vertebrae. A cervical herniation disc occurs when the nucleus pulpous herniates or ruptures. The nucleus pulpous is the inner material of the disc. So, when it goes out through the out wall of the cervical disc, it causes herniation.
The most common symptoms of cervical herniation are severe pain, which often radiates down the arm to the fingers of your hand. Your arm and hand can become weak as a result of herniation. Also, tingling sensations and numbness in your shoulder, arms, hands, and fingers can occur as a result of the nucleus pulpous rupturing.
Keep in mind that there certain neck positions and movements can further complicate the situation and cause severe pain. The symptoms of this spine condition are somewhat similar to other spine disorders, such as gout, tunnel syndrome, and rotator cuff issues.
Some patients with this spine condition also experience spinal cord compression in which the material of the disc compresses the spinal cord and its nerves. As a result, the patient feels extreme pain, tingling, as well as difficulty with fine motor skills in the arms and hands.
What are the Causes of Cervical Herniated Disc?
The cervical spine consists of six intervertebral discs, and each one is present between the adjacent vertebrae. The purpose of the intervertebral disc in the cervical spine is to cushion the vertebral bodies so that there is a balanced load on your head and neck.
Annulus fibrosus is the outer layer of the disc, which contains concentric collagen fibers. The function of annulus fibrosus is to protect the inner layer of the disc. Nucleus pulpous is the inner layer of the disc, which contains a network of fibers to provide extra cushioning for movements.
A herniated disc is characterized by the rupturing of the outer layer, which paves the path to the nucleus pulpous leakage. The nucleus pulpous contains inflammatory proteins, and when they leak out of the intervertebral disc onto the surrounding nerve root, it causes severe pain.
Aging is the biggest cause of cervical herniated disc because it causes natural wear and tear of the intervertebral disc in the cervical spine. Research studies have shown that genetics, certain movements (jarring motions), and sudden strain can also cause a cervical herniated disc.
What are the Possible Treatments for a Cervical Herniated Disc?
When it comes to Herniated Disc Treatment, there are many options, such as medications, physical therapy, and injections. NSAIDs are often prescribed to reduce inflammation in your body. A herniated disc in the cervical spine can cause a lot of pain, and doctors often prescribe NSAIDs to quickly overcome the painful sensations.
On the other hand, physical therapy has been found useful in strengthening and stretching the neck to reduce painful sensations. For instance, physical therapy exercises, like chin tucks, can help the neck and head to maintain better posture.
Moreover, your doctor may prescribe injection to relieve pain. Most often, this type of treatment is recommended when physical therapy and medications fail to ease the symptoms. Fluoroscopy is one of the methods used to treat the pain caused by a herniated disc in the cervical spine.
The primary objective of the injection is to inject the medication directly into the area of concern. It does not damage the spinal structures, such as blood vessels, muscles, nerve roots, and spinal cord.
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Conservative treatments are not a permanent solution to treat this spine condition. Although some surgeons may suggest open surgery, it can lead to many complications. Therefore, the best solution is a minimally invasive surgery, such as anterior cervical discectomy and spine fusion.
It is a minimally invasive method used to treat a cervical spine herniated disc. The surgery requires the surgeon the make a small 1-inch incision in the front of the neck and remove the herniated disc. Then, the surgeon adds a plate in front of the graft material to provide additional stability. The success rate of this surgery is over 95%.
Here at MINT, our surgeons may also perform posterior cervical discectomy in which the surgeon approaches the herniated disc from the back. However, the posterior approach is a bit challenging than the anterior approach.
Anyway, if you are suffering from a cervical herniated disc, you should call MINT immediately to schedule an appointment with our qualified and experienced surgeons. Contact us today!