A cervical spine disc protrusion is a condition that involves damage to a disc in the cervical segment of the spine, located in the neck and upper back. This part of the spine is critical to supporting the weight of the head and enabling movement. Any damage to this area, including a disc protrusion, can potentially cause symptoms that make everyday activities difficult and painful.
Anatomy of a cervical spine disc protrusion
The spine is made of a column of bones, called vertebrae. Between most of the vertebrae is a padded disc that provides cushioning and lends protection and flexibility to the spine.
As we get older, the spinal discs begin to degenerate. The outer walls become thin and weak and are unable to maintain their structural integrity. The inner gel-like substance of discs pushes against the weakened wall, causing the disc to push out of its normal space. A cervical spine disc protrusion, then, is a disc that has pushed out beyond its normal boundary, which may put pressure on the nearby spinal nerves.
Cervical spine disc protrusion symptoms and treatment
Cervical spine disc protrusion symptoms include:
- Pain that begins in the neck or upper back, and then radiates through the shoulders, down the arms and to the hands, which is called radiculopathy
- Decreased range of motion in the head and neck area, including the inability to fully rotate the head side to side or up and down
- Loss of feeling in the neck and shoulders that can spread to the arms and hands
- A tingling or pins-and-needles sensation
If left untreated, these symptoms can continue to worsen, so visit a doctor right away to receive a proper diagnosis and begin treatment. Treatment usually begins with conservative measures such as pain medication, periods of rest and light exercise. More involved treatment such as physical therapy and epidural steroid injections may also be recommended in more severe cases.
If your doctor has diagnosed you with a disc protrusion and nonsurgical treatments have been unable to relieve your symptoms, then USA Spine Care might be able to help. Our surgeons perform minimally invasive spine surgery as an outpatient alternative to traditional open neck and back surgery. We use muscle-sparing techniques that allow for a less than 1-inch incision and a streamlined experience that offers many advantages to our patients.
Contact us for your free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.
Browse Related Resources