Cervical Discs Radiating Arm Pain Neck Sioux City
Cervical Disc Bulging and Herniation
A cervical bulging, or a herniated disc, is one of the most severe causes of neck and arm pain. This pain occurs when the bulge of a herniated disc puts pressure a nerve root which branches out from the spinal cord. Compressing a nerve root in the spine creates a variety of symptoms in the neck, shoulder, arm, or hand. Cervical disc injuries are most commonly seen to hand in hand with trauma, or with a history of chronic neck pain or arthritis.
Symptoms of Disc Herniations
Mild disc injuries may present as mild stiffness, soreness, and pain localized to the neck. If the condition of the disc worsens, the pain will shift further towards the shoulder. More severe cases can produce numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, or loss of sensation in the arm and hand. People may have difficulty performing repetitive tasks such as typing or knitting. Simple activities become difficult. Some people even begin dropping cups from their hands.
A medical examination will focus on identifying the specific cervical disc and nerve root involved. Each individual nerve root will cause a pattern of symptoms which enables your chiropractor to identify the specific cervical disc herniation. An MRI is not always needed to evaluate cervical disk injuries, especially if the physical examination produces specific indications of the severity of the injury. The severity of symptoms will guide your treatment plan.
Treatment of Neck Bulges and Herniations
The first focus of treatment is on decreasing pain and discomfort. We always say that the further the symptoms travel away from the spine and down the extremity, the worst they are. The injury is similarly likely to be worse the longer you have been experiencing symptoms. We want to bring those symptoms from your hand and fingers back up to the neck. In addition, we want the intensity, frequency and duration of pain to decrease on a daily basis.
A variety of treatment modalities may be utilized depending on your injury and symptoms. A light range of motion exercises and stretches will help decreasepain and muscle spasms in the neck. Electric therapy, ice, and heat can also be used to decrease muscle spasms and pain. Light and safe chiropractic adjusting, involving the Activator Technique or the Thompson Drop Table, may be utilized in order to increase range of motion and facilitate pain-free movement.
Additional treatment options include cervical traction or decompression treatments. Spinal decompression opens the joints, decreasing the pressure inside the disc. This helps restore and center the material of the disc, separating it from the nerve root. The repetitive nature of this decompression increases blood flow to the injured disc, helping it to heal. Cervical discs receive their blood flow through a passive system. With neck movement, blood rushes into a disc; as the spine reloads, it pushes blood flow away, much like stepping on a sponge and then lifting your foot off. Cervical traction and decompression decreases the disc pressure to increase blood flow to the injury.
More blood and nutrients following to an injured area allows for faster recovery.
Traction and decompression treatments are great options for speeding recovery of cervical discs, and for controlling radiating pain. Several treatments are usually required before the symptoms improve noticeably. However, during the decompression phase, some people do feel immediate relief, describing less pain or tingling down the arm. Though this pain returns to previous levels as the spine reloads, overall these patients tend to respond very well to spinal decompression.
After the pain subsides, more active strengthening exercises and stretches will be performed to reestablish normal neck muscle and joint mechanics. Most cases of cervical disc herniations can be treated without surgical intervention. However, severe cases may require surgery to clear disc material away from the nerve root, if the material is causing severe damage to the nerve.
Most people respond very well to conservative treatments and do not require surgery. The keys to successfully addressing cervical disc pain are avoiding aggravating activities, modifying posture and home activities, and being consistently attentive to your treatment routine.