Just about everyone experiences some sort of neck pain at one time or another, but how can you tell if you have a cervical disc problem that needs to be addressed by a doctor? There are several signs to be aware of that can be an indication you have a serious issue.
Cervical Disc Basics
The cervical spine, located in the neck, is comprised of vertebrae separated by discs that allow the neck to bend forward and move from side to side. They also act as a sort of shock absorber, providing cushioning. As the body ages, these discs tend to degenerate. As a result, the amount of space between the vertebrae is reduced and nerves become pinched. A large number of people – particularly over the age of 40 – have some type of cervical disc problem.
When someone has a degenerative cervical disc, the result is typically neck stiffness and pain, particularly near the end of the day. In addition, a person may experience pain, numbness or weakness in the hand, arm or shoulder. Severe episodes may occur that can last anywhere from a few days to several months.
Thankfully, there are several different treatments for cervical disc issues, both non-surgical and surgical. Conservative options include over-the-counter pain medicines such as Tylenol, as well as anti-inflammatories such as Advil and Aleve. If these don’t work, your doctor may prescribe stronger medications.
The next step is typically physical therapy, which could involve the gentle manipulation of joints and muscles and possibly cervical traction. In most instances, the level of activity will gradually be increased to help improve a patient’s range of motion as well as reduce pain.
There are times, however, where more conservative options prove unsuccessful and surgery is needed. Depending on the severity of the problem, it could take anywhere from a few weeks to several months for pain to subside. Your doctor will likely recommend that you eat a balanced diet and exercise on a regular basis to keep your neck as healthy as possible.
If you are concerned you may be showing signs of cervical disc problems in Southlake, get in touch with the experts at Advanced Spine & Orthopedics. Contact us online or call 817-310-8783 to schedule an appointment.