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Cervical Slipped Disc

Woman in white shirt holding back of neck

Treatment for Cervical Slipped Disc in New Jersey

A cervical slipped disc can happen to anyone but mainly affects adults over the age of 30. A cervical slipped disc is a common problem that people may experience as they age. The team at NU-Spine: The Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Institute, led by Dr. Branko Skovrlj, are leaders in back and neck pain relief. At multiple offices located throughout northern New Jersey, NU-Spine offers spine procedures and treatments for a wide range of conditions.

Is a Slipped Disc or Bulging Disc Painful?

Discs are the cushions between each of the seven cervical vertebral bones. One of the most common causes of neck pain is a cervical slipped disc or bulging disc. Both conditions occur when a weakened spinal disc encroaches on the spinal cord or root nerves.

Chronic pain is described as constant pain someone experiences for at least three straight months. Chronic neck pain or even minor discomfort can cause a major disruption to a person’s normal routines. With a cervical bulging disc or slipped disc, the pain can be severe in some cases.

What Is the Difference Between a Slipped Disc and a Bulging Disc?

A slipped disc and a bulging disc are similar in many ways, but each is a distinct medical condition. They have different causes, appear unique from one another in imaging tests, and need different treatments. For example:

Bulging Disc

A bulging disc is created when the outer layer of a disc weakens. At some point, that layer wears away, and the gel-like contents of the disc erupt all around it. If the disc does not erupt completely, then at least half or a quarter of it fails. This leads to compressed root nerves because the nerves exit the spinal cord where the discs are located, in between the vertebrae.

Slipped Disc

A slipped disc is the same thing as a herniated disc. It is a weakened or brittle disc that cracks, releasing its inner gel substance. Unlike a bulging disc, a slipped disc usually leaks in only one spot. However, the pressure the disc is under may propel its contents into a nerve root, resulting in the same type of pain in the neck.

Both medical conditions involve damaged discs. Both cause similar symptoms and can lead to similar disabilities. The symptoms from a bulging disc or slipped disc depend on where the interior of the intervertebral discs leak, either into the spinal column, to either side of the bone, or toward the back of the vertebra.

What Are the Symptoms of a Bulging or Slipped Cervical Disc?

Neck pain is the most common symptom of a cervical slipped disc since the ruptured disc material often touches or compresses a sensitive spinal nerve. Some of the other common symptoms that point to a cervical bulging or slipped disc include:

  • Shooting pain in the arms
  • Burning pain in the shoulders and arms
  • Pain with movement
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Headaches
  • Possible weakness and numbness of the arm or hand

How Can a Cervical Slipped Disc or Bulging Disc Be Diagnosed?

Before treatment, the neurosurgeons at NU-Spine perform diagnostic tests to determine an exact diagnosis. Before a patient can receive the correct treatment, the spine specialist needs to know if they have a cervical slipped disc, a cervical bulging disc, or something else. The spine specialist reviews the patient’s medical history and performs a physical exam to determine the source of the pain.

Other tests may include the following:

X-ray

An X-ray uses high-energy electromagnetic radiation to take images of bones. An X-ray can show the alignment of the vertebrae in the neck and check for a slipped disc.

Computed Tomography

A computed tomography, or CT, scan is a medical imaging technique used to get detailed internal images of the body. A CT scan shows the cervical spine in more detail than an X-ray will.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Magnetic Resonance Imaging, also known as MRI, uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to generate images of the organs in the body. An MRI allows neurosurgeons to see the vertebrae, soft tissues, and nerves in greater detail than with other types of scans.

Electromyography

Also known as an EMG, this test measures the speed of transmitting electrical impulses along a nerve. Sometimes, doctors will use this test to determine whether a nerve or group of nerves is functioning properly.

Nerve Conduction Study

This test measures how fast an electrical impulse can travel along a nerve. This test can be done in tandem with an EMG to determine if a patient has a muscle disorder or a nerve issue.

Non-Surgical Treatment for Cervical Slipped Disc or Bulging Disc

The majority of slipped or bulging disc cases do not require surgery. Based on a patient’s diagnosis, Dr. Skovrlj may recommend some non-surgical solutions to try first. If they relieve the symptoms, patients do not need to go any further with treatment. These remedies include:

  • Targeted massage or chiropractic care
  • Physical therapy, including personalized home exercises
  • Medications, including oral painkillers and steroid injections
  • Other pain management techniques

Surgical Treatment for Cervical Slipped Disc or Bulging Disc

The NU-Spine medical team recommends minimally invasive spine surgery. When a cervical slipped disc is causing neck pain, the goal of any neck surgery is to ease the pressure on the nerve that is being pinched or compressed. Here are some of the surgical procedures NU-Spine may recommend for this spine condition:

  • Discectomy to remove damaged discs that press on a nerve. Following the discectomy, the disc may need to be replaced or the surrounding bones fused.
  • Microdiscectomy removes a section or part of a herniated disc that is causing pain.
  • Laminectomy removes the lamina, which is the part of the vertebrae that covers the spinal column. This creates more space for the spinal cord.
  • Minimally invasive laminectomy uses advanced medical technology to allow access to the lamina by separating tissues, rather than by an incision.
  • Spinal fusion may be done after a laminectomy, joining two bones together to stabilize the spine.

Choose NU-Spine to Treat Cervical Slipped Disc or Bulging Disc

The world-renowned staff at NU-Spine: The Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Institute are advocates of minimally invasive spine surgery. The spine surgeons believe these minimally invasive techniques are an effective and, in some cases, better alternative to traditional spine surgery, but are less invasive and allow for a quicker healing time.

Whether a patient has a cervical slipped disc or is seeking a more accurate diagnosis of neck and back pain, they should visit NU-Spine as soon as possible. We are conveniently located in Paramus, Woodbridge, Toms River, Jersey City, and Holmdel, New Jersey.

Transform your life with a touch of care! Experience the cutting edge in minimally invasive spine treatments. Don’t wait for relief; schedule your appointment with our spine experts today and take the first step towards a pain-free future. Contact us today.

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Spine Center Locations

1. Paramus
37 W Century Road Suite 105A
Paramus, NJ 07652

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3. Woodbridge
573 Amboy Ave.
Woodbridge Township,
NJ 07095

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5. Toms River
1901 Hooper Ave. #B
Toms River, NJ 08753

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7. Hainesport
300 Creek Crossing Blvd,
Suite 307 Hainesport, NJ 08036

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2. Jersey City
631 Grand Street, Suite 2-100
Jersey City, NJ 07304

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4. Holmdel/Bell Works
101 Crawfords Corner Rd.
Suite 1116-B
Holmdel, NJ 07733

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6. Freehold
1000 West Main Street
Suite 201
Freehold, NJ 07728

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