A cervical herniated disc occurs when the inner gel-like substance of a spinal disc herniates, or leaks out of the disc. The gel-like material may press on nearby cervical nerves, causing pain to radiate along the nerve pathway down into the shoulder and arm.
The spine is made up of 24 moveable bones called vertebrae, which are separated by discs that act as shock absorbers to prevent them from rubbing together. The top 7 vertebrae located in the neck are the cervical vertebrae, numbered C1 to C7. A cervical disc herniation is diagnosed when one of these discs in the neck ruptures – a lumbar disc herniation is diagnosed when a disc in the lower back ruptures.
The discs in the cervical spine aren’t as big as the discs in the lower back, so when a disc ruptures it is more likely to cause significant pain by pinching nearby nerves. This pain is often felt in the neck, shoulder, arm and sometimes the hand. It’s typically most severe when the nerve first becomes pinched.
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A cervical disc herniation is one of the most common causes of neck pain. The first sign that you may have a cervical disc herniation will likely be neck pain. While mild to severe pain in your neck is the most common symptom, there are other symptoms:
Numbness, tingling, or pain in the shoulder, arm or hand
Weakness in the arm or hand
A cervical disc herniation may press on your spinal cord, causing more serious symptoms:
Tingling or a shock-like feeling running down to your legs
Stumbling or awkward walking
Loss of fine motor skills in the hands and arms
Loss of balance and coordination
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The information provided here is not intended for you to self-diagnose. It is our way of letting you know that we understand how to help you. The first step to your relief is to schedule a consultation so we can determine what your underlying condition is and help you to understand your options.
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