Neck pain is a common problem. For many, this problem results from undiagnosed issues involving the cervical discs in the spine. These discs are round, flat cushions that act as shock absorbers for the spine and help keep it flexible. If the discs become damaged, however, they can cause pain, discomfort, and stiffness.
If you are experiencing neck pain, you may be suffering from a cervical disc herniation. Dr. Hyun Bae is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and director of the Disc Replacement Center of Excellence at La Peer. You can call (888) 309-2848 to set up a neck pain consultation with our experts today.
Symptoms of a Bulging Disc in the Neck
A bulging – or herniated – disc in the neck can cause a number of symptoms. The most common are pain, numbness, or weakness in the neck, shoulders, chest, arms, or hands. Symptoms may also include stiffness and headaches. It is also possible for a herniated disc to cause weakness or tingling in other parts of the body, such as the legs.
Causes of a Bulging Disc in the Neck
The most common cause of a bulging disc is a condition called disc degeneration. This happens as we age and our discs lose the natural fluid that helps them maintain flexibility. As these discs become drier, they also become more susceptible to rips and tears in the outer layer. A bulging disc may also result from an injury to the spine that tears or cracks the outer layer of the disc. If you think you may have suffered a bulging disc, then don’t hesitate to contact the Disc Replacement Center for testing.
Diagnosing a Bulging Disc in the Neck
Typically, your doctor will diagnose a cervical disc herniation through a combination of physical examination and an assessment of your symptoms. In some cases, your doctor might also order an imaging test. Common tests include X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computerized tomography (CT scan).
Cervical Disk Replacement Surgery
For those patients whose bulging discs do not respond to treatments such as rest, physical therapy, and medication, surgery may be necessary. Cervical disc replacement is one of the latest and most effective treatments for bulging discs in the neck. It is done through a small incision of the neck. This incision allows the surgeon to remove the damaged disc and any bone spurs. Once the disc is removed, the space is filled with a metal replacement device. This device allows movement between the vertebrae to return to normal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who is a good candidate for cervical disc replacement surgery?
A: Cervical disc replacement surgery is used to treat patients who have failed to improve with nonsurgical care. Children and adults with certain advanced degenerative diseases, osteoporosis, or an active infection may not be candidates for surgery.
Q: Is it possible to have a bulging disc and not know it?
A: Yes, it is. Sometimes people have a bulging disc and don’t realize it. This may be because they experience no symptoms or because they don’t recognize the symptoms as those of a bulging disc.
Q: What is the difference between a bulge and a hernia?
A: While some doctors make a distinction between the two, they are essential the same condition. In certain cases, the term hernia may be used to refer to a more severe bulge in which a tear in the other layer of the intervertebral disc is present.
Q: What are the risk factors for developing a bulging disc?
A: Three of the primary risk factors for bulging discs are age, weight, and occupation. Most bulging discs occur in middle-aged patients. Weight also causes extra stress on the discs and may increase the likelihood of damage. Additionally, those who work jobs involving repetitive movements are at a higher risk for disc injury. Smoking has also been linked to a greater likelihood of suffering from bulging discs.
Contact a Los Angeles Bulging Disc Expert
Are you tired of living with neck pain due to a bulging disc? You don’t have to suffer any longer. Dr. Bae is a renowned Los Angeles orthopedic surgeon and expert in helping his patients overcome neck pain at La Peer’s Disc Replacement Center. Call today at (888) 309-2848 to set up your consultation.
Next, read about spine pain diagnosis.