Cervical Herniated Disc Treatment Options
A cervical herniated disc is a very common cause of neck pain. Doctors can be quick to suggest surgical treatments to alleviate pain and discomfort. However, there are alternative and non-surgical treatments out there! Using minimally invasive techniques, a specialized pain physician can help you avoid surgery or reliance on pain medications. We’ll review treatment options, explain what exactly a herniated disc is, and discuss symptoms so you know how to recognize herniated disc as a cause of your neck pain.
Here are some options available from our Harvard-trained pain speciality doctors:
This method of treatment is a great alternative to surgical treatment. A qualified doctor will numb your skin with lidocaine, then give you an injection in the epidural space in your spine. This reduces any pain and inflammation caused by the cervical herniated disc. When the epidural kicks in, it can help your symptoms disappear.
For a fast, less invasive cervical herniated disc treatment, consider this option! The pain doctor will inject specific facet joints in the spine with a small local anesthetic and steroid medicine. The doctor will then use a fluoroscopic guide. This is a technique that uses an X-Ray image that captures pictures of the injection in real-time to help guide the doctor. The doctor uses this guide as they inject the anesthetic and steroid medicine which will numb the joint. Pain is blocked and should disappear. Usually, only one or two cervical facet blocks are required!
A qualified pain doctor can help recommend the best physical therapist. During a physical therapy assessment, your physical therapist will examine your area of pain. This will provide them with important information regarding your condition. Your physical therapist will then provide you with exercises and modalities tailored to your treatment plan.
You might have already heard of the phrase ‘trigger points’. In this case, we are referring to sensitive areas that are deep in connective tissue/muscle. You might have felt a knot or pain in an area of muscle or tissue before! This occurs when the muscles are too tight and contract and cannot relax.
Our shoulders and head have trigger points that can cause a lot of pain. To stop this pain, a speciality doctor at our specialist pain treatment clinic can inject local anesthetic and corticosteroid drugs into these trigger points. The corticosteroid drugs act as muscle relaxants which helps to reduce these ‘knots’ that we feel. It is recommended that patients undergo a short course of this treatment to ensure longer-term pain is kept at bay!
What is a cervical herniated disc?
Now that you are familiar with some of the basic cervical herniated disc treatment, let’s discuss the causes and definition of this uncomfortable condition. The cervical spine is an important and delicate structure. It holds the weight of the head and helps the head to move 180 degrees and from side to side. It also houses the spinal cord which is responsible for sending messages from the brain to various areas of the body. It is a very flexible and strong structure which allows movement in many directions.
Humans have 7 cervical vertebrae that are separated by discs which act as important shock absorbers. These shock absorbers prevent the vertebrae from rubbing together. The discs are also important for making sure the vertebrae are connected, just like a tree trunk connecting lots of branches. These discs contain a gel-like substance and the outer area of the disc is made of cartilage which stops the gel from coming out the disc.
When a disc herniates, it means that a tear or split in the cartilage has caused the gel in the disc to come out. Think of it like squeezing jelly out of a donut!
A herniated disc is one of the main reasons why people suffer from neck pain. Symptoms may vary depending on which cervical disc has herniated. Below is a list of some of the most common symptoms of a cervical herniated disc:
- shoulder pain and weakness
- weak triceps
- weak biceps
- pain in wrist extensor muscles
- numbness and tingling combined with pain that affects the thumb and side of hand and/or middle finger
It is important to consult a speciality pain doctor when receiving cervical herniated disc treatment. We have a highly-specialised team of Harvard-trained doctors who are experienced in consulting patients who have a cervical herniated disc. Our doctors are on-hand for consultations and combine their knowledge, skills and experience to ensure that your cervical herniated disc treatment is right for you. Click here to meet our fantastic team of pain doctors.
Again, it is important to ensure that you discuss non-surgical treatment options with your pain doctor. Many patients may think that surgery and narcotics are the only answer for neck pain. During a consultation, your pain doctor will learn about your complaints and establish a treatment plan for you.
Meet our Harvard-trained team!
Additionally, check out our excellent pain doctor in New York and New Jersey, Dr. Michael Nguyen.
Our clinics are centers of excellence. With Harvard-trained doctors, triple Board Certification and state-of-the-art facilities, you can be assured that you are receiving care of the highest quality.
Alternatively, you can also find out more information from our group of physicians based at the Vein Treatment Clinic and Pain Treatment Specialists.