Your spine consists of 24 individual vertebrae stacked on top of each other. Flexible cushions called “discs” live between each set of vertebrae. A disc is made up of two basic components. The inner disc, called the “nucleus”, is like a ball of jelly about the size of a marble. This jelly is held in place by the outer part of the disc called the “annulus”, which is wrapped around the inner nucleus much like a ribbon wrapping around your finger. The term “cervical disc lesion” means that your disc has been damaged.
Disc lesions start when the outer fibers of the disc become strained or frayed. If enough fibers become frayed, this can create a weakness and when the disc is compressed, the outer fibers may “bulge” or “protrude” like a weak spot on an inner tube. If more fibers are damaged, the nucleus of the disc may “herniate” outward. Since the spinal cord and nerve roots live directly behind the disc, bulges that are accompanied by inflammation will likely create neck pain that radiates into your shoulder or arm. If the disc bulge is significant enough to cause compression of your nerve, you may also experience loss of your reflexes and weakness. Be sure to let our office know if you notice progressive weakness or numbness, hand clumsiness, any symptoms in your legs, any loss of bowel or bladder control, or fever.
Surprisingly, cervical disc bulges are present without any symptoms in over half of the adult population. The condition is slightly more common in men. Ninety percent of cervical disc problems occur at one of the two lower discs- C5/6 or C6/7. Certain occupations or activities may place you at a greater risk, especially if you spend extended periods of time sitting, driving or looking down. Improper sleep positions, frequent heavy lifting, and cigarette smoking may also increase your risk. The condition is most common between the ages of 40 and 50, and is less common in children and seniors.
You should avoid “loading” your neck with activities like carrying objects on your head or diving into water. Researches have shown that disc bulges may be successfully managed with conservative care like the type we provide.
Our treatment options:
Muscle work and stretching
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