If you are experiencing pain in your neck, you may have cervical disc disease. This condition can occur when one or more discs between the vertebrae in your neck herniate or rupture. Unlike healthy cervical discs, which cushion the bones of the spine, degenerative discs allow the spinal vertebrae to rub against each other and press against the spinal cord. This causes symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the neck, arms, and hands. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. Cervical disc disease can be treated with a variety of methods including surgery, physical therapy, and medications.
Causes of Cervical Disc Disease
Cervical disc disease occurs when the discs of the cervical spine (the neck) begin to wear down. Degeneration of cervical discs can occur as a result of aging, trauma, or injury, and it may lead to herniation or rupture of one or more discs in the neck. Without treatment, cervical disc disease can cause severe symptoms and may eventually lead to long-term neurological problems.
Symptoms of Cervical Disc Disease
The most common symptoms of cervical disc disease include:
- Pain or stiffness in the neck
- Pain that radiates to the arms or upper back
- Burning, numbness, or weakness down the arms
- Symptoms may be in one or both arms
- Neurological issues with balance, walking, using hands, and even bladder function (all caused by more severe cervical disc herniations)
These symptoms can significantly impact your daily activities, making it difficult to function. If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to visit an orthopedic surgeon and get an evaluation to determine whether you have any degenerative cervical discs.
Getting Treatment for Cervical Disc Disease
It is important to seek treatment for cervical disc disease right away in order to manage symptoms effectively and prevent complications like cervical stenosis (a condition that can lead to permanent nerve damage). There are a number of different treatment options available for cervical disc disease, including:
- Nonsurgical Treatments: Physical therapy, medication, and/or spinal injections may be recommended to correct symptoms and slow the rate of cervical disc degeneration.
- Cervical Disc Replacement Surgery: Surgery can replace a herniated or degenerative cervical disc with a fully mobile artificial disc. This can significantly improve symptoms, reduce the likelihood of adjacent disc degeneration, and allows the neck to continue moving in a natural, physiological way.
- Fusion Surgery: One of various techniques can be employed to remove degenerative cervical discs and fuse the vertebrae together. This restricts some neck movement but will alleviate symptoms of cervical disc disease.
With treatment, cervical disc disease can be effectively managed and symptoms can be significantly reduced. Early diagnosis is key to ensuring the best outcomes, so it is important to seek medical attention if you are experiencing any cervical disc disease symptoms.
To learn more about cervical disc disease, schedule your appointment with our board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon Dr. Stephen Pehler. Call 303-695-6060 or contact us online to book your appointment today.