Pain and stiffness in your neck could be due to a herniated cervical disc or cervical disc disease. If you aren't experiencing any improvement in your neck condition, the highly experienced neurosurgery team at Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center in Sandy Springs, College Park, and Bethlehem, Georgia, offer advanced treatments for cervical disc disease. The team specializes in minimally invasive procedures, including anterior cervical disc fusion (ACDF) and artificial disc replacement. Call Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center today to schedule a consultation, or book an appointment online.
Cervical disc disease is a condition that's a common cause of chronic neck pain. It develops after years of stresses and strains on your neck that affect the discs in between your vertebrae.
These discs consist of a soft, cushioning material, rather like jelly, that’s surrounded by a protective shell. There's a disc between each set of vertebrae going down your spine, all of which can degenerate over time.
Discs are there to help you turn and move, provide your spine with stability, and protect the vertebrae from damage. When you're young, they're plump and flexible, but as you age, they lose some of their water content, making them drier and stiffer.
This condition is called degenerative disc disease, and it's something that starts to affect many people as they reach middle age. The weakened discs are more likely to herniate as well, allowing the soft center to bulge into your spinal canal.
To begin with, cervical disc disease might cause few symptoms, but gradually you can feel your neck getting stiffer. You might find it harder to move your neck and experience pain at times. The real trouble starts when the changes in your discs begin to put pressure on the nerves in your spinal canal.
Nerve compression in your neck is known as cervical radiculopathy, and it causes the more noticeable symptoms of cervical disc disease. The primary symptom is moderate-to-severe pain that travels into your shoulders and down your arm, sometimes right to your hand.
You might also get feelings of numbness or a "pins-and-needles" sensation that radiates down your arm.
The first step in treating your cervical disc disease is to reduce the inflammation, which should help with the pain and other symptoms. This requires a course of anti-inflammatory medication combined with physical therapy.
For many patients, these conservative treatments are highly effective and are all they require for relief. For others, different options like epidural steroid injections and nerve blocks might be necessary.
For a minority of patients, surgery might be the only solution to the symptoms of cervical disc disease. The Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center team might surgically remove the damaged disc in a procedure called a discectomy.
There are then two choices – your surgeon can fuse the vertebrae on the top and bottom of the space left by the disc, or perform an artificial disc replacement. Fusion surgery offers strength and stability, while the newer artificial disc replacement allows you to retain a greater range of motion.
To discuss your treatment options for cervical disc disease and find relief from neck pain, call Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center today, or book an appointment online.