A Cervical Herniated Disc often causes neck pain for older patients, usually 50 years or over. Arthritis is a common condition that simply comes with age and wear and tear, but can be managed with proper exercise, nutrition, and treatment.
The seven vertebrae of the neck are stacked atop one another, separated by soft discs that provide cushioning between the bones. Aging, disease, or injury can damage these discs, which will result in pain, inflammation, and sometimes more severe symptoms.
A herniated or bulging disc usually occurs as a result of age. As the body ages, the discs dehydrate and shrink. This makes them weaker and more susceptible to tears as the vertebrae of the neck move. Degenerative disc disease is also common with age; after years of wear on the disc, they become less able to produce the gel like fluid that provides cushion to the bone, causing them to wear away. Trauma to the neck, like whiplash or falls, may also damage a cervical disc, which is less able to repair itself in older patients.
- Dull and sharp pains in the neck and upper shoulders
- Lack of neck mobility
- Weakness in the arms and hands
- Numbness/Tingling in the neck, shoulders, or arms
Treatment with Physical Therapy
Dr. Michael Y. Mizhiritsky is a pain management specialist that often sees cases of cervical arthritis. He is an expert in recommending treatments that help patients manage symptoms of cervical arthritis and move on with their lives. Physical Therapy is the first treatment Dr. Mizhiritsky recommends a patient to manage pain from a herniated or bulging disc. It is the most conservative way to relieve pain and is often successful after following a regimen for a few weeks. Tractioning, stretching, and massaging the cervical region will take pressure off the discs. Strengthening cervical muscles, as well as well as correcting posture, will take pressure off of the cervical spine, causing them to grind less on the disc.
Dr. Mizhiritsky can also recommend corticosteroid injections for the cervical spine to reduce inflammation for months at a time. This is a minimally invasive therapy that can be repeated without major side effects and is often the most effective way patients can manage pain while performing therapy to find long-term relief.