Neck Disc Herniation

In between each vertebra is a disc that acts as a cushion or shock absorber. The disc and adjoining facet joints are what allows your neck and back to bend and rotate. Our discs are similar to a jelly donut with a tough outer layer called the “annulus fibrosus” and a jelly-like inside called the “nucleus pulposus”. When the nucleus pulposus herniates it applies pressure to the nerve roots, and potentially the spinal cord, causing pain and disrupting the signals sent to and from your brain and body. This is called a herniated disc. In addition, the nucleus pulposus contains chemical irritants that, when released, cause nerve inflammation and pain. This will result in pain along the nerve distribution over the shoulder and the upper extremity called radiculopathy.

Symptoms

  • Neck pain
  • Radiating arm pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Numbness or tingling in the arm or hand
  • Dull, aching pain to sharp, localized pain
  • Weakness in arm muscles

Causes

  • Sudden stress from an accident
  • Aging
  • Repetitive activities
  • Injury to your spine

As we age our discs dry out, losing their flexibility and elasticity, leaving your discs more susceptible to tearing or rupturing. Other factors include tobacco use, lack of regular exercise, eating an unbalanced diet, poor posture, as well as a history of cervical spine trauma. It is important to receive proper medical treatment to diagnose and treat a disc herniation to prevent further deterioration. There are many treatment options that do not include surgery such as anti-inflammatories, cold/heat therapy, physical therapy, and spinal therapy. If surgery is needed, Dr. Osmani can perform an Anterior Cervical Discetomy and Fusion (ACDF)  to decompress the nerve and remove your herniated disc.