Understanding Cervical Herniated Discs

A cervical herniated disc occurs when the soft, gel-like center of your spinal disc leaks through the tough exterior. Our video walk-through can help you better understand this often-times painful neck injury.

See Cervical Herniated Disc Symptoms and Treatment Options

Cervical Herniated Disc VideoYour symptoms from a cervical herniated disc are partially dependent on the location of the disc.
Watch: Cervical Herniated Disc Video

Video highlights

Your cervical spine (neck) is comprised of 7 vertebrae. Additionally, 6 spinal discs provide cushioning for your vertebrae and facilitate all kinds of motion.

Cervical Spine Anatomy and Neck Pain

The interior of your cervical discs are comprised of the gel-like nucleus pulposus (pictured above), which is surrounded by the tough annulus fibrosus (pictured below).

See Cervical Discs

Cervical Spine Anatomy and Neck Pain
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Symptoms

When the gel-like interior of your disc leaks out, or herniates, you may feel pain in your neck, arm, and possibly your hand and/or fingers. This radiating pain along your arm can occur if your herniated disc aggravates a nearby nerve root (that exits your spinal canal).

See What Causes Hand Pain and Numbness?

Pain from a cervical herniated disc that extends along your arm is referred to as cervical radiculopathy (pictured below).

See Cervical Radiculopathy from a Herniated Disc Treatment Options

Cervical Nerves

Location of symptoms from a cervical herniated disc

You may experience different symptoms depending on which disc you herniate in your cervical spine. For example, a C5-C6 herniated disc can result in a feeling of weakness in your bicep.

See All About the C5-C6 Spinal Segment

The discs that are most-often herniated are the C5-C6 and C6-C7 (which is pictured below).

See All about the C6-C7 Spinal Segment in the Neck

Cervical Nerves

Your cervical herniated disc can likely be treated without surgery via medication, physical therapy, and other methods. But if non-surgical methods fail to relieve your pain, surgical treatments, such as ACDF, are available.

See Conservative Treatment for a Cervical Herniated Disc

I hope all of the above information regarding cervical herniated discs will help you better communicate with your doctor, which in turn may put you on a quicker path to healing.

Learn more:

ACDF Surgery Procedure

Spine Surgery for a Cervical Herniated Disc

Post written by Andrew Moeller