Our disc is composed of a gel like material, a soft cushion present between two adjacent vertebrae which is responsible for bearing the daily stress, adjusting the unexpected loads and giving smooth sliding movements to the spine. Poor lifestyle and postures often lead to the cervical disc syndrome, a problem very common in people these days. Here is an insight into the causes, symptoms and treatments related to the problem.
What happens during a cervical disc prolapse?
The substance in the disc can be subjected to any intrinsic change or an injury from outside sources. This result in disc rupture where the softer inner portion called the nucleus extrudes through the weaker outer portion of the disc. Now, as soon as this happens, the fluid which is out releases some chemicals which further cause the symptoms of disc syndrome. C5-C6 and C6-C7 are the common sites of disc protrusion.
Causes of cervical disc pain
- Pain in the neck and its complications is a regular feature in any orthopedic clinic. However, there are lots of contributing factors giving way to disc problems like:
- Poor blood supply from the surrounding soft tissues, delivering improper nutrition to nerve.
- Hemorrhage, an acute bleeding resulting in nerve root compression.
- Ligamentous and capsular instability due to which the disc can bulge out of its place.
- Age related changes in the spine which cause further narrowing of vertebral canal and precipitate the symptoms.
- Repeated muscular strains
- Bad postural habits arising due to occupation or carrying a wrong habitual posture.
Symptoms of disc generated pain
- Once there are changes within the disc, they could be mild moderate or severe. A confirmed diagnosis can only be obtained by an MRI. However, you must know the signs which are:
- Initially, pain starts somewhere around your neck.
- Within a short span of time you will be able to locate where the pain exactly is.
- Typically, the disc pain travels through a path and can radiate down till your elbow, wrist or tip of the fingers.
- There is associated ‘pins and needles’ sensation and the area can be numb.
Management of the cervical disc prolapse/ syndrome
A thorough examination is a must by a physician or therapist, which emphasizes upon looking for the movements, arm muscle bulk, sensory status and positive reflexes. The treatment depends upon the severity of condition, but it has been seen that the symptoms come under control quickly if the rehabilitation is started in time.
- Use of collar: Gives rest to the muscles and to restrict motion.
- Medication: Controls inflammation, muscle spasm and pain.
- Physical therapy: Ice packs, hot packs, interferential currents, traction and short wave diathermy are effective forms of treatment.
- Exercise regime: A planned program is generally given to the patient but the easiest way to start is to press your own hand against your forehead: count ten and relax. Repeat the procedure similarly with right and left temples, chin and the back of the head. This improves blood circulation and endurance.
- Posture: Our body positions and occupational habits play a predominant role with cervical pain. Physiologically and mechanically, the ideal posture is straight neck with chin tucked in.
- Ergonomics: Following good ergonomics at work place like adjusting your table and computer height, not using a chair with too short back support, taking a break to move your neck a bit, are indeed beneficial to prevent neck pain.
Never give up positivity and remain encouraged.
This article has been Contributed by our MedTzar On Panel, Physiotherapist; Dr. Vindhya Asthana. To ask a query contact Dr. Asthana through our section - Ask The Tzars or write in to her at -