While anyone can get a herniated disc in the upper spine, it’s more common among older adults. The wear and tear over the years can damage the rubbery discs that rest between each of your vertebral bones. When the tough outer lining of the disc becomes brittle, it can rupture or split, leaking the gel-like substance inside the disc. The gel then squeezes against a nerve, and that’s what causes your pain. Fortunately, Dr. Branko Skovrlj at NU-Spine in Edison, NJ is a neurosurgeon who’s an expert at repairing damage and easing your pain using a variety of herniated cervical disc treatments. Call today to make an appointment.
What Is a Disc Herniation?
Cervical disc herniation is a condition that affects the discs in the upper back and neck region of your spine. The discs are small sacs filled with a gel-like substance and encased in a tough but flexible casing. There’s a disc in between each vertebral bone in your spine. These discs act as a barrier between the vertebrae, allowing for painless flexibility and preventing friction as you move your spine.
When the disc is damaged, the gel spills out of the hard casing and into the area surrounding your spine. If the substance aggravates or impinges a spinal nerve, you can feel intense back pain or neck pain. The gel must go somewhere, either outside or inside your spinal column:
- When the substance compresses the spinal nerve, it causes painful cervical radiculopathy.
- If substance spills into the spinal canal, it narrows the space that your spinal cord needs, leading to cervical stenosis.
Diagnosis is crucial where back pain is concerned. While cervical disc herniation isn’t as common as lumbar disc herniation, there are still many conditions that can cause pain. Determining where your pain originates allows your spine specialist in Edison, NJ to deliver the appropriate treatment for a cervical herniated disc. Dr. Branko Skovrlj at NU-Spine, The Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Institute, treats neck injuries and other spine ailments.
What Are the Symptoms of Cervical Disc Herniation?
When you first start feeling neck pain or just feel a twinge in your shoulders, you don’t normally associate the pain with a cervical disc herniation. That’s why you have to consult a spine doctor. Your pain may be a sign of something more serious than a muscle strain, such as a severe cervical herniated disc injury. If you have a disc herniation in your neck, you may complain of symptoms that include:
- Numbness in your shoulders, neck, chest, arms or hands
- A tingling sensation in your fingers, arms, neck or shoulders
- A shooting pain in your shoulder or arms
- Pain whenever you move your head or neck
- Weakness in your arms and hands
Several frightening conditions — like a cervical spinal cord injury or cervical myelopathy require the best treatment for a herniated cervical disc. That’s when you have to trust a dedicated neurosurgeon like Dr. Skovrlj. When you suffer one of these injuries, you experience additional symptoms, including:
- Difficulty walking
- Lost control of your bladder
- Numbness and tingling in your legs and feet
What Causes Cervical Disc Herniation?
Your body breaks down as you age. The hardest hit areas are usually the places you used over and over again, such as your shoulders and neck. A herniated disc in your cervical spine is often the result of years of wear and tear. There are two types of wear and tear in your neck, and both are common reasons for your neck pain:
- Cervical degenerative disc disease is the medical term for disc damage.
- Cervical degenerative joint disease, on the other hand, refers to the wear and tear of your vertebrae; it’s a form of arthritis.
Although rare, you may also develop a cervical disc herniation from a trauma. A car accident or a direct hit can cause a disc to bulge or slip, causing pain. Lifting heavy things incorrectly can get you in trouble, too. Seek a local spine specialist in northern New Jersey to get an accurate diagnosis for your pain.
When Should I Get Cervical Herniated Disc Treatment?
The best neurosurgeons recommend that you seek herniated cervical disc treatment sooner rather than later. The earlier a herniated disc can be identified, the more likely your doctor can treat it successfully. The longer your condition remains untreated, the greater the impact on your spine. Your surgeon may recommend non-surgical treatment for cervical herniated disc first to see if they’ll have your pain. You may find relief through:
- Rest and keeping your neck immobile
- Wearing a cervical collar or a neck brace
- Taking anti-inflammatory medicine
- Going in for steroid injections to neutralize the affected nerve
- Getting physical therapy that includes cervical traction
What if the Non-Surgical Treatments Don’t Work?
For a severe case of cervical disc herniation, you need cervical herniated disc surgery. Dr. Skovrlj offers the best treatment for a herniated cervical disc. Only about 10 percent of patients need surgery, but the surgical options include:
- Endoscopic posterior cervical foraminotomy/discectomy
- Minimally invasive microdiscectomy
- Anterior cervical decompression and spinal fusion
No matter which procedure your New Jersey doctor recommends, he handles it with practiced hands. Dr. Skovrlj is one of the preeminent neurosurgeons specializing in spinal surgery. Contact NU-Spine today to get the relief you need to get back to your regular routine pain-free.
_This page was published on Mar 25, 2020, modified on Jan 26, 2021 by Dr. Branko Skovrlj (Neurosurgeon / Spine surgeon) of NU-Spine: The Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Institute in New Jersey DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY
The information on this website is to provide a general information. In no way does any of the information provided reflect a definitive treatment advice. It is important to consult a best in class neurosurgeon in NJ regarding ANY questions or issues. A thorough evaluation should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call your local spine surgeon or Dr. Branko Skovrlj of spine center New Jersey, to schedule a consultation.