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Understanding Cervical (Neck) Disc Herniation: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Understanding Cervical (Neck) Disc Herniation: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment


Cervical is the medical term for your neck. Cervical disc herniation is a condition that can cause significant discomfort, pain and impact daily life. Understanding its causes, symptoms, and treatment options is essential for managing this condition/injury effectively.


Understanding Cervical (Neck) Disc Herniation: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Cervical disc herniation occurs when the cushion-like discs, sometimes referred to as “the jelly donut” between the bones in your neck region rupture or bulge, putting pressure on the nearby nerves. This injury/abnormality can be called: a bugle, protrusion, extrusion or free disc fragment. A common phrase used to describe this type of injury is herniation.

Several factors can contribute to this condition, including:

1. Age-related wear and tear:
As we age, the discs in the spine lose moisture and become less flexible, making them more prone to herniation.
2. Trauma:
Automobile accidents, falls, sudden jerking motions can cause cervical discs to herniate.
3. Repetitive strain:
Activities or occupations that involve repetitive neck movements or heavy lifting can increase the risk of disc herniation.
4. Genetics:
Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to developing cervical disc problems.


The symptoms of cervical disc herniation can vary depending on the location and severity of the herniation. Common symptoms include:
1. Neck pain:
Pain in the neck area, which may radiate to the shoulders, arms, and hands.
2. Numbness or tingling:
Sensations of numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arms or hands.
3. Muscle weakness:
Weakness in the muscles of the arms or hands, making it difficult to grip objects or perform daily tasks.
4. Changes in reflexes:
Diminished reflexes, particularly in the arms.
5. Shooting pain:
Sharp or shooting pain that worsens with movement, coughing, or sneezing.


Treatment for cervical disc herniation aims to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and improve mobility. Depending on the severity of the condition, treatment options may include:
1. Rest and activity modification:
Avoiding activities that exacerbate symptoms and allowing the body time to heal.
2. Medications:
Over-the-counter pain relievers, muscle relaxants, or prescription medications to alleviate pain and inflammation.
3. Physical therapy/chiropractic treatment:
Exercises and stretches to strengthen the muscles surrounding the spine and improve range of motion.
4. Epidural steroid injections:
Injections of corticosteroids directly into the affected area to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
5. Surgical intervention:
In severe cases where conservative treatments fail to provide relief, surgery may be necessary to remove the herniated disc or decompress the affected nerve.


While cervical disc herniation may not always be preventable, certain lifestyle modifications can help reduce the risk of developing this condition:
1. Maintain good posture:
Practicing proper posture while sitting, standing, and lifting can help prevent unnecessary strain on the neck and spine.
2. Exercise regularly:
Engage in regular exercise to strengthen the muscles supporting the spine and improve overall flexibility.
3. Use proper lifting techniques:
When lifting heavy objects, bend at the knees and keep the object close to the body to avoid putting excessive strain on the neck and back.
4. Take breaks:
If your job involves repetitive movements or sitting for long periods, take frequent breaks to stretch and change positions.
5. Avoid smoking:
Smoking can accelerate disc degeneration, so quitting smoking can help maintain spinal health.


Cervical disc herniation can cause significant discomfort and impact daily life, but with proper understanding and management, individuals can effectively alleviate symptoms and improve their quality of life. If you have been involved in an accident and have sustained a neck injury, call the attorneys at Hicks & Motto, 561-683-2300.
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