Cervical Herniated Disc

Cervical Herniated Disc

Cervical Herniated Disc

Definition:

A cervical herniated disc is a spine condition of the cervical segment that occurs when the gel-like center of a disc (nucleus pulposus) ruptures through a weak area in the tough outer wall (annulus fibrosis

Symptoms:

Patients usually present with one or more of

Axial neck pain

Radicular arm pain

Myelopathy

Neurapraxia of upper extremities

Non-specific symptoms: dizzying nausea headache upper back pain

Treatment:

Neck collar. A special collar worn around the neck can reduce the movement of the spine. This is generally only used for a short time and in people with acute neck pain.

Traction. Short periods (15 to 20 minutes) of traction can sometimes relieve compression of the spinal nerve.

Medications. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or oral steroids such as prednisone may be used to reduce inflammation. A muscle relaxant can relieve muscle spasms. Antidepressants and anticonvulsants may be used to reduce nerve-related symptoms.

Physical therapy. Some people benefit from physical therapy after a short period of rest. This may include ice or heat therapy, strengthening exercises, or electrical stimulation therapy.

Spinal steroid injections. Steroids injected into the spine can reduce inflammation and nerve-related symptoms. If these conservative methods don’t help, or if symptoms are severe or worsening, surgery may be required, such as:

Anterior cervical discectomy with fusion. In this procedure, the herniated disc is removed. The vertebrae on either side are then fused using bone or bone-like material and metal implants. This stabilizes the spine at that level.

Total disc replacement. The herniated disc is removed and replaced with an artificial disc device that mimics the function of the spinal disc. This procedure stabilizes the spine and allows for more natural movements of the neck.