It generally causes pain in neck, shoulder, and arm. The most common symptom is neck pain. Structures called intervertebral discs are located between our vertebrae, and they have a soft consistency. Discs absorb the load on the vertebral column, by acting as shock absorbers, so to speak. For most people, discs are soft and elastic; but they slowly lose their elasticity with age. As the elasticity diminishes, neck hernia may occur. The term ''cervical disc herniation'' in medicine, is used for what is known as ''neck hernia'' among people. It is the protrusion of these discs, located between the vertebrae, out of the normal range. This protrusion causes compression on the spinal nerves emerging from the spine and the spinal cord.
Symptoms of Cervical Disc Herniation
The symptoms for cervical disc hernia vary depending on the localization. It may cause pain behind the neck, in the shoulders, arms, between the shoulder blades, and the fingers. When the head is leaned back, the pain intensifies. The patient avoids moving his/her neck. Numbness, tingling, and weakness in the muscles innervated by that nerve, may accompany the pain. Patients with weakness usually state that they drop things from their hands or have difficulty turning the tap on.
Treatment of Cervical Disc Herniation
Complaints usually wear off after initial treatments; such as baseline pain relievers, cold and heat therapies, epidural injections, physiotherapy, and bed rest. Surgery is recommended if the pain is persistent. Power loss is the most important indicator that the patient is a candidate for surgery.
Surgical Treatment Of Cervical Disc Herniation
Nowadays, the commonly used surgical technique is anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. The main objective of surgery is to decompress the nerve and immobilize the segments with fusion. This procedure is carried out by making a small incision, under a microscope. And by so, allows a faster recovery. If the operation is going to be carried out only for the protruding fragment of the hernia; the fragments are removed from the posterior, by using the posterior cervical foraminotomy technique, and the nerve is decompressed. Nowadays, artificial mobile implants are also used in the operations. These implants, help the spinal segment in maintaining its movements.
MRI shows a disc herniation between the C4-5 and C5-6 vertebrae.