There’s a reason the go-to comparison for discomfort is “a pain in the neck.” Neck pain can be incredibly frustrating, and severe neck pain can even become debilitating.
One of the potential causes of neck pain is a herniated spinal disc. If your neck hurts due to an issue with your upper (cervical) spine, turn to the team of orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists at South Texas Spinal Clinic for effective diagnosis and treatment. We provide care to new and existing patients from locations throughout San Antonio and South Texas.
Our team can resolve your neck pain symptoms and restore your cervical spine. Here’s what you need to know about neck pain and disc herniation.
Problems with your spinal discs
Your spine is composed of vertebral bones spaced apart by spinal discs. Your cervical spine, the part of your spine that makes up your neck, contains seven cervical vertebrae. Between each of these bones, discs made of a gel-like center surrounded by a tougher outer layer act as shock absorbers and cushions.
Cervical spinal discs make it possible to move your head in its full range of motion and protect your vertebrae from jars and shocks as you move around. However, damage to this part of your spine is relatively common because your neck moves so much and supports your head.
If a cervical disc herniates, bulges, or ruptures due to an injury or wear-and-tear over time, it may press on nearby nerves and cause pain. You’re more prone to disc herniation as you get older and if you have spinal conditions like degenerative disc disease.
Understanding cervical disc herniation
When a disc becomes herniated, the inner gel-like layer ruptures and tears through the disc’s outer shell, creating a bulge. If one of your cervical discs becomes herniated, you may experience:
- Pain in your neck
- Pain in one arm or the other
- Arm or hand numbness or weakness on one side
- Radiating pain in these areas
The exact symptoms you experience may help your provider at South Texas Spinal Clinic determine which of your cervical discs is causing the problem. We may also use diagnostic imaging to learn more about the condition of your upper spine.
Treating your disc-related neck pain
Neck pain related to a herniated cervical disc can last only a few days, or your pain may seem to come and go, flaring up when you engage in specific actions or activities. Sometimes, symptoms resolve on their own in 4-6 months, even without treatment of the underlying problem.
We start your treatment with conservative options like rest and anti-inflammatory medication. Other nonsurgical treatments include physical therapy stretches and exercises, cold or heat therapy, cervical epidural steroid injections, and muscle and joint injections. Cervical nerve blocks can also help with persistent pain symptoms.
In some cases, surgical treatment may be needed to address your symptoms or condition fully. At South Texas Spinal Clinic, our team of orthopedic surgeons offers the most advanced procedures, including microdiscectomy, laminectomy, and fusion surgery, to restore your spine and relieve your symptoms.
To find out more about the connection between your spinal discs and neck pain symptoms, contact the providers at South Texas Spinal Clinic for an evaluation today. You can book an appointment at one of our Texas locations online or by calling now.