Cervical Herniated Disc
Cervical Herniated Disc
A cervical herniated disc is an injury to the neck that can cause a wide range of symptoms. Pain can range from a dull ache to a sharp pain, and could manifest in the neck, arms, or hands. Sometimes there are no symptoms at all. For athletes, a cervical herniated disc can be a serious problem so it’s important to respect the symptoms and get a possible herniated disc checked out immediately.
Cervical herniated discs occur in the cervical spine. This is the uppermost part of the spine, starting at the base of the cranium and running to the thoracic vertebrae, or middle back. In between each vertebrae, there is a disc. These intervertebral discs are designed to pad the vertebrae, act as a shock absorber, and help the spine move more fluidly.
There are six intervertebral discs in the cervical spine. Each one has an endplate, where the disc connects to the vertebrae, a dense outer ring called an annulus fibrosus, and a gel-like interior called a nucleus pulposus. With the onset of a gradual herniated cervical disc, a disc’s innermost annulus ring begins to weaken and tear, and progressively some or all of the nucleus pulposus leaks out. A herniated disc could also occur suddenly from a trauma. Athletes who participate in contact sports like football can develop a cervical herniated disc.
When we’re examining a patient for a cervical herniated disc, we look at the history of the pain, when it started, and if and where it radiates.
The symptoms will be different depending on which cervical disc is herniated, since each disc affects a different spinal nerve.
For the cervical spine, the C6-7 are the most common. The C6 often means pain in the neck, shoulder, scapula,lateral arm, forearm, and hand, and weakness in shoulder and arm movements. With the C7, patients usually have neck, shoulder, middle finger pain, and weakness in the elbow and wrist.
We can get most athletes back on track after a cervical herniated disc with conservative treatments like exercise and noninvasive pain management. Our clinic is home to innovative tools like NMES and hot and cold therapy that can help with pain and speed up recovery.
At MOTUS, our priority is to treat the cause, not just the symptom. Our experienced team will work with you to get you back to your full athletic potential, while educating you on how to adjust your movements to protect from reinjury in the future.