If you’re dealing with neck pain, you may try various ergonomic remedies, and one of them may work. But if nagging neck pain keeps coming back, seek the services of the best spinal surgeon in New Jersey — Dr. Branko Skovrlj. Because so many different conditions can affect your neck, don’t take chances. The pain from a degenerative disc in the neck may indicate an issue that leads to severe consequences. At NU-Spine in Edison, New Jersey, your doctor has the diagnostic tools and treatment experience to relieve persistent neck pain and treat conditions like cervical degenerative disc disease. Call today to alleviate your neck pain.
What Is Cervical Disc Degeneration Disease?
Cervical disc degeneration is one of the main causes of neck pain and radiating arm pain. It’s a condition characterized by symptoms that affect your normal, daily life, such as:
- Stiffening of your neck
- Chronic upper back pain
- Persistent neck discomfort
If you consistently experience neck and arm pain, make an appointment with Dr. Branko Skovrlj, an experienced, renowned spine specialist, one of the few in the country who focuses on spine surgery. Dr. Skovrji’s spinal medicine practice — NU-Spine, The Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Institute, in Edison, New Jersey — is a state-of-the-art facility where you receive comprehensive, cutting-edge surgical and non-surgical spine treatments.
Why Does Cervical Spine Degeneration Happen?
Your neck’s flexibility allows you to turn your head in almost all directions. The neck is made up of:
- Seven bones called vertebrae that provide stability, flexibility and protection for your spinal cord.
- Discs between the vertebrae that are filled with a cushioning gel-like substance. Discs act as shock absorbers.
This complex structure makes it possible for your spine and neck to bend and twist. With age, these natural shock absorbers tend to become more brittle and may even leak. In medical terms, this is known as cervical degeneration. Once the cushion between the vertebrae narrows, your nerve roots my be pinched, which can evolve into cervical degenerative disc disease.
What Are Symptoms of Cervical Degeneration Disease?
In addition to extensive diagnostic tests, your spine specialist considers your symptoms, how long you’ve had them and when they’re most frequent. The most common symptoms of degenerative disc disease in the cervical spine include:
- Pain that ranges from mildly annoying neck discomfort to debilitating neck pain that prevents you from continuing your daily activities
- Pain and stiffness in your back that’s aggravated by movement and relieved with rest
- Sharp or electric shock-like feelings, indicative of nerve pain, that radiate down the shoulder into your arms, hands or fingers
- Neurological symptoms in your arms, fingers or hands, such as numbness, pins-and-needles tingling or weakness that radiates into the arm and hand
Other less common symptoms include:
- Difficulty moving your arms and legs
- Trouble with coordination and balance
- Loss of bowel and/or bladder control
Other Than Age, What Are the Risk Factors?
Age is the leading cause of cervical degeneration. It’s natural for the discs in the cervical spine to break down due to wear and tear. Those who work in jobs that require extensive lifting and continual arm movement often experience degeneration at an earlier age than those who don’t. Athletes, such as pitchers, quarterbacks and tennis players, accelerate the wear and tear.
Other risk factors lead to disc degeneration developing sooner and becoming symptomatic. These additional risk factors include:
- Obesity and being overweight
- Smoking, which causes cell damage
What’s the Diagnosis?
Seek a professional diagnosis of cervical degeneration. Symptoms of cervical degenerative disc disease vary from one person to another. They also mimic other conditions that require a much different approach to treatment. Conditions that share symptoms with cervical disc generation include:
- Herniated disc
- Slipped or bulging disc
- Compressed nerve
- Spinal narrowing
- Neck Injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Compression injury
Your spine specialist at NU-Spine in NJ uses the latest medical practices to come to a correct diagnosis before starting any treatment. In addition to a review of your medical and family history and a complete physical exam, you may undergo imaging tests, such as an MRI or CT scan.
What’s the Best Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment?
Once Dr. Skovrlj reaches a firm diagnosis of cervical degenerative disc disease, treatment can begin. At Nu-Spine, options to treat degenerative disc in the neck include:
- Physical therapy. A spinal therapist at the practice uses different techniques to reduce your pain and stiffness, while increasing your range of motion.
- Ice and/or heat therapy. An ongoing technique for pain relief, this treatment is part of massage therapy for relieving cervical pain.
- Over-the-counter pain medications. These medications accompany other treatment options and are a short-term solution for pain management. Occasionally, your doctor may prescribe stronger pain medications, which are time-limited to prevent further complications.
- Lifestyle modifications. Your doctor recommends modification of your work or exercise routines to promote your neck’s well-being.
- Manual spine adjustment. Manipulation of the spine can in some cases improve the range of motion and reduce pain.
Surgical procedures may be the best and longest-lasting treatment for cervical degenerative disc disease. Surgery reduces chronic pain when it’s severe and when non-surgical treatment is ineffective. Spinal surgeons also recommend surgery if neurological symptoms are present. Effective types of cervical disc surgery include:
- Cervical artificial disc replacement
- Endoscopic posterior cervical foraminotomy/discectomy
- Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF)
Dr. Skovrlj offers personalized spinal disease diagnosis and treatment. The whole staff welcomes you to a new era in spine care by relying on the most advanced, minimally-invasive spine procedures to get you back to an active lifestyle. Contact NU-Spine today for comprehensive treatments for spinal disorders in Edison, NJ.Page Updated on Jan 27, 2022 by Dr. Branko Skovrlj (Neurosurgeon / Spine surgeon) of NU-Spine: The Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Institute in New Jersey