CERVICAL DISC HERNIATION
A common cause of neck, shoulder and arm pain is a ruptured or herniated cervical disc.
SYMPTOMS MAY INCLUDE:
- Dull or sharp pain in the neck or between the shoulder blades
- Pain that radiates down the arm to the hand or fingers
- Numbness or tingling in the shoulder or arm
- Certain positions or movements of the neck can intensify the pain.
The symptoms of a cervical herniated disc often resemble other disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome, problems with the rotator cuff and gout. In some patients, a cervical herniated disc can cause spinal cord compression where disc material pushes on the spinal cord. This is a much more serious condition and may require a more aggressive treatment plan. Spinal cord compression symptoms include awkward or stumbling gait, difficulty with fine motor skills in the hands and arms, and tingling or “shock” type feelings down the torso or into the legs.
NORMAL CERVICAL DISC ANATOMY
In between each of the vertebrae in the spine is a disc, a tough fibrous shock-absorbing pad. Endplates line the ends of each vertebra and help hold individual discs in place. Each disc contains a tire-like outer band (called the annulus fibrosus) that encases a gel-like substance (called the nucleus pulposus).Nerve roots exit the spinal canal through small passageways between the vertebrae and discs. Pain and other symptoms can develop when the damaged disc pushes into the spinal canal or nerve roots.
Cervical disc herniation occurs when the annulus fibrosus breaks open or cracks, allowing the nucleus pulposus to escape. This is called a herniated disc.
Your physiotherapist will be able to assess your injury and begin treatment to minimise inflammation, increase pain-free movement and help your overall recovery.