Cervial Disc Herniation (Herniated Cervical Disc)

The spinal column or back bone are made up of bones called vertebra, which surround the spinal cord and protect it from injury, and discs, that lie between the vertebra, which act to cushion the spinal column. The spinal cord itself has spinal nerves that exit at various levels and provide strength and sensation to the various parts of the body.

In the neck, also called the cervical spine, the nerves that leave the spinal cord provide sensation and strength to the arms and hands. When one of the cervical discs herniate (protrude) into the spinal nerves, either by injury to the neck or from degenerative processes that go along with old age, they can produce symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling or even weakness in the various muscles of the arm and hand. These symptoms can often be very annoying and sometimes even debilitating, especially if they interfere with household work, job performance, and sleep. This condition is diagnosed by a thorough history, physical examination and an MRI which looks at the cervical spine cord and their corresponding nerves, the vertebral bones, and the discs between them. An EMG, a test which examines the nerves and muscles of the hand and arm, can also be helpful in determining if there is any damage to the nerves or muscles resulting from the herniated disc. Treatment for this condition may consist of medication, physical therapy, epidural steroid injections, and possibly surgery.