Cervical herniated intervertebral disc
The neck is referred to as the cervical spine. Disc herniation is the term used to describe the migration of intervertebral disc material from where it usually sits in the spine. This can lead to pain, and compression on neural structures such as the spinal cord and spinal nerves.
Please note, a disc bulge is not a disc herniation and is a completely separate entity. Most people will have disc bulges that are asymptomatic and give no symptoms what so ever. Disc bulges will typically not cause neck pain. Disc bulges can for a lot of purposes be considered normal with age. In simplicity, they occur when we loose a bit of the ‘spring’ in our discs just like shock absorbers that don’t recoil and sit a bit lower and wider.
Causes of cervical herniated disc
Cervical disc herniations can be from an acute trauma or repetitive injuries that naturally wear the structure of the disc down. These injuries could be sports injuries, occupational injuries and repetitive strain on the disc in the form of occupations that involve lots of bending, twisting and sitting.
Symptoms of a cervical herniated disc
Neck pain and restriction to movement are the two most likely symptoms. Arm pain and tingling can be cause my disc material hitting the neck, and this can go all the way to the finger tips.
The two most common discs in the cervical spine to herniate are the C5 – C6 and the C6 – C7 discs. The next most common is the C4 – C5, and rarely the C7 – T1 disc. The nerve that is affected by the disc herniation is the one exiting the spine at that level, so at the C5 – C6 level, it is the C6 nerve root that is affected.
A cervical herniated disc will typically cause the following symptoms:
- C5 nerve root: weakness in the deltoid muscle in the upper arm. Does not usually cause numbness or tingling. Can cause shoulder pain.
- C6 nerve root: weakness in the biceps and wrist extensor muscles. Numbness and tingling along with pain can radiate to the thumb side of the hand.
- C7 nerve root: weakness in the triceps and the finger extensor muscles. Numbness and tingling along with pain can radiate down the triceps and into the middle finger.
- C8 nerve root: Can cause weakness with handgrip. Numbness and tingling and pain can radiate down the arm to the little finger side of hand.
Treatments of a cervical herniated disc
The treatments at Sydney Spine & Sports Centre (S3C) are designed to reduce neck pain and improve neck function. Our chiropractors and physiotherapists have years of experience treating cervical herniated discs. Our chiropractors and physiotherapists use gentle and safe treatments that involve both hands on treatments and active mobility and strengthening exercises to restore the pain free motion of the neck.
Our Balmain and Rozelle chiropractors have also put together these articles for you to read
- Intervertebral disc summary
- Degenerative intervertebral discs (technical)
- Degenerative intervertebral discs (non-technical)
- Normal Vs pathological intervertebral disc changes
- Intervertebral disc protrusion
- Intervertebral disc extrusion
- Intervertebral disc sequestration
- Contained and uncontained intervertebral disc herniation
- Intervertebral disc high intensity zones
- Intervertebral disc dehydration
- Intervertebral disc fissures
- Intervertebral disc tears
- Intervertebral disc infection
- Traumatic intervertebral disc injury