Cervical disc herniation, signs and symptoms
In cervical disc herniation, the soft tissues inside and the inflammatory proteins of the disc begin to leak into the protective outer layer and into the spinal canal. A disc herniation usually causes inflammation or pressure on a nerve root that causes severe pain or shock, such as in the neck or arm. Other organs near the spinal cord may also become inflamed and painful.
Some common signs and symptoms of cervical disc herniation include:
Neck pain: This pain is usually felt on the back of the neck. The disease can have mild pain that is felt to the touch or pressure, or can cause severe pain or burning.
Radicular pain: This pain starts from a pressurized nerve in the lower neck and spreads to the shoulders, arms, hands and even fingers. Sometimes this pain causes a feeling of heat or pain such as an electric shock.
Neck radiculopathy: Inflammation of the nerve root or nerve may cause numbness and weakness in the shoulders, arms, hands and fingers. Radicular pain may also be associated with radiculopathy in some cases.
Symptoms that get worse with certain head positions or activities: Disc herniation pain may get worse with certain movements or activities such as exercise and lifting heavy objects. In some cases, moving the head, such as twisting to one side or tilting forward or backward, may make the pain worse.
Neck spasm and stiffness: Pain and inflammation of the disc herniation may restrict certain movements in the neck and reduce range of motion.
Specific patterns of pain and neurological disorders are largely determined by the location of the disc herniation.
Signs and symptoms of cervical disc herniation and related nerve root:
Areas of pain caused by a cervical disc herniation. Symptoms depend on which nerve root is under pressure.
The cervical spine consists of 7 vertebrae on top of each other, named from C1 to C7. The discs are located between the vertebrae. For example, the C5-C6 disc is located between the C5 and C6 nuts. If the C5-C6 disc becomes herniated, it can put pressure on the C6 nerve root. The signs and symptoms of a cervical disc herniation can vary depending on which nerve root is under pressure. for example:
C4-C5 (nerve root C5): Pain, tingling, or numbness may spread to the shoulder. Weakness may be felt in the shoulder (deltoid muscle) and other muscles.
C5-C6 (nerve root C6): Pain, tingling, or numbness may also be felt in the thumb. Weakness may also be seen in the biceps (forearm muscles) and wrist extensor muscles in the forearm (back muscles of the forearm). Disc C5-C6 is one of the most common types of disc herniation.
C6-C7 (nerve root C7): Pain, tingling, or numbness may be seen in the middle hand and finger. Weakness may also be felt in the triceps (upper back muscles), back muscles, and other muscles. The C6-C7 disc is most likely to be herniated in the cervical spine.
C7-T1 (C8 nerve root): Pain, tingling, or numbness may be felt on the outside of the forearm or the little finger. Weakness may also be experienced in the muscles that collect the finger (handle) and other muscles.
These common pain patterns are associated with cervical disc herniation, but are not always definitive. Some people simply have differences in their nervous system, so their pain and other symptoms will be different.
Less common symptoms of cervical disc herniation:
If the spinal cord is compressed or inflamed by a cervical disc herniation, symptoms may include one of the following:
Pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness in both arms or both legs
Difficulties in coordination or walking
Bladder or bowel control problems Any of these signs or symptoms require immediate medical attention.