Cervical Herniated Disc Overview  

Cervical herniated discs refer to invertebral discs that can herniate in the cervical spine and potentially cause a cervical radiculopathy.  Cervical radiculopathy refers to pain that is referred from the spinal nerve roots to other parts of the body. The surgeons at Spine Physicians Institute have successfully treated patients all across Dallas, Irving, Red Oak, Plano, Southlake, Grapevine, Colleyville, Duncanville and throughout the DFW metroplex with cervical herniated discs.

Symptoms

Cervical radiculopathy symptoms may include pain, tingling, numbness, weakness, and reflex loss. Cervical radiculopathy symptoms may present in the neck, shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers.

Diagnosis

Your spine doctor will consider your medical history and symptoms and give you a physical examination, during which the doctor will look for limitations of movement in the spine, problems with balance, and signs of pain, as well as any loss of extremity reflexes, muscle weakness, sensory loss, or abnormal reflexes that may suggest spinal cord involvement.

An MRI or CT/myelography can confirm the presence of cervical radiculopathy and determine where it is located.

Treatment

The patient was prescribed physical therapy specific to the cervical spine which provided some relief, along with epidural steroid injections which relieved her pain and the patient was successfully treated nonoperatively.

Patient demographics

Cervical radiculopathy can occur in a wide variety of patients. Younger patients (<50) tend to get this from disc herniations, and older patients can get this from arthritic conditions involving bone spurs.

Conservative Management

Interventional treatments for cervical radiculopathy may include:

  • Physical therapy and/or exercises for exercises to help relieve the pressure on the nerve root
  • Medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce swelling and pain and analgesics to relieve pain
  • Epidural steroid injections and nerve root injections to help reduce swelling and treat acute pain that radiates to the hips or down the leg

Surgical Treatment

If nonsurgical interventional treatment fails to relieve pain, surgical removal of the disc may be reasonable. The disc may be removed from the back of the neck (posterior approach) or from the front (anterior approach).

Some of the surgical procedures used to treat cervical radiculopathy are:

  • Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF)
  • Cervical laminectomy
  • Cervical laminoplasty

Clinical Example

History

The patient is a 45 year old female who recounts a 3 month history of neck pain that radiates to her left shoulder.  Patient states that the pain is worse when she rotates her head to the left and relieves when she lifts up her left arm.

MRI Image

Cervical Herniated Disc

The MRI image above demonstrates a herniated disc at the C4-5 level indenting the thecal sac the left of center.

If you have questions about how our team of top rated spine surgeons can help and live in the Dallas, Irving, Red Oak, Plano, Southlake, Grapevine, Colleyville, Duncanville or anywhere throughout the DFW metroplex then give us a call!