Cervical Herniated Disc
Intervertebral discs are the tissue that lies between your neck bones. These discs consist of a soft, gel-like center and a tough outer layer. The intervertebral disc creates a joint between the spine’s bones that allows them to move. The disc can become herniated if the disc’s outer lining is torn.
The cervical herniated disc can cause a variety of symptoms or even no symptoms. It can cause aching in the neck, arm and/or hands, or radiate into these areas with electric-like pain. It is possible to feel weakness or numbness in the arm or hands. Although a cervical herniated disc may be caused by trauma or neck injury to the cervical region, most symptoms appear spontaneously.
Symptoms of cervical herniated disc pain, and other signs that can be associated with it, are usually felt in one arm. The symptoms can vary depending upon which disc has burst and which nerve root is pinched or inflamed. Rarely, the symptoms of pain, tingling and/or numbness can spread to both arms, or lower, depending on the severity of the spinal cord injury. It is possible to lose bladder and/or bowel control, but this is rare.
How to Remove Cervical Disc Herniates
The cervical spine has 6 intervertebral discs. Each cervical disc is located between two adjacent vertebrae (one below and one above) to cushion the vertebral bodies. They also help distribute the load from the neck and head. There are two basic components to a disc.
- Annulus fibrosus. The outer layer of the disc is made up of concentric collagen fibers. This makes it strong enough to protect its soft inner layer. The spine’s heavy loads are absorbed by the annulus fibrosus.
- Nucleus pulposus. This gel-like interior is made up of loose network fibers that are suspended in mucoprotein gel, and then protected by the annulus fibrosus. Additional cushioning and flexibility are provided by the nucleus pulposus, which provides extra mobility.
A herniated disc is when the disc’s outer layer breaks down and some of the nucleus pulsus leaks into it. The most painful part of a herniated disc is when the nucleus pulposus (which contains inflammatory proteins) leaks from the disc onto the nerve root. A herniated disc may also leak onto the spinal cord.
The following factors can increase the likelihood of a herniated disc:
- Weight. Extra weight can cause extra strain on the lower back discs.
- Occupation. Back problems are more common in those who work in physically demanding occupations. A herniated disc can also be caused by repetitive lifting, pulling, pushing and twisting.
- Genetics. Some people inherit the predisposition to develop a herniated disc.
- Smoking. Smoking is thought to reduce the oxygen supply to discs and cause them to fail more quickly.
- Frequent driving. The vibrations from the motor vehicle engine and prolonged sitting can cause pressure to the spine.
- Being sedentary. Regular exercise can prevent a herniated disc.
Your spinal cord is located just above your waist. The spinal canal ends at the end of a series of long nerve roots, which resemble a horse’s tail (cauda Equina). Disc herniation can sometimes compress the entire spine canal, as well as all nerves in the cauda-equina. Sometimes, emergency surgery may be necessary to prevent permanent weakness or paralysis.
If you are ill, seek emergency medical attention.
- Worsening symptoms. You may experience numbness or pain that can become so severe they interfere with your daily activities.
- Bladder dysfunction or bowel dysfunction. Cauda Equina Syndrome can lead to incontinence and difficulty urinating, even with a full bladder.
- Saddle anesthesia. The gradual loss of sensation in the areas that touch a saddle is called inner thighs, back of legs and rectum.
A Cervical Herniated Disc Is Severe
Rarely, symptoms and signs of a cervical herniated disc may become worse over time rather than stabilizing and resolving on their own. A pinched or inflamed cervical nerve root can cause tingling, numbness and/or weakness in the arm. The same applies to a herniated cervical disc. This can cause problems with coordination, walking, bladder control, and/or coordination. These neurological problems require immediate medical attention in order to avoid them becoming more severe or permanent.