Herniated Disc

Herniated Disc

Neck pain and symptoms caused by a herniated disc are quite common in adults. The cushion type tissue between the bones in your neck are called intervertebral discs. These discs are composed of a soft gel-like center and a tough outer lining and create a joint between the bones in the spine that allows them to move. A herniated disc occurs when the lining surrounding the disc tears and the soft center is pushed through the opening.

Causes

A herniated disc may be caused by numerous things. The most common of which is the simple process of aging. As we get older, the discs din our spines can lose their flexibility and elasticity while the ligaments surrounding the discs can become brittle and are more easily damaged or torn. Because this can put pressure on spinal nerves (radiculopathy) or on the spinal cord (myelopathy), it can cause painful symptoms.

Symptoms

The symptoms most commonly experience with a herniated disc are:

  • Neck pain
  • Pain that radiates down the arm
  • Numbness or tingling in the arm or hand
  • Weakness in the arms (definite reason to consult a specialist)

Diagnosis

As it is not possible to detect a herniated disc with an X-ray alone, an MRI is usually ordered to verify the diagnosis of a herniated disc especially if the doctor suspects another condition or needs to determine which nerves are affected. CT Scans may also be used to rule out other conditions. A Myelogram may be used in some cases, where a dye is injected into the spinal fluid, and then an X-ray is taken. This procedure can show pressure on your spinal cord or nerves due to multiple herniated discs. It can also assist in ruling out spinal cord tumors, abscesses and bony overgrowths.

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