Neck pain from a herniated disc is typically blamed on compression of a neurological structure by a bulging intervertebral tissue. Cervical herniated discs can create severe pain and related symptoms, such as numbness, weakness and tingling in the neck, head, shoulders, arms, hands and fingers. Some extreme disc issues can even enact pain in the torso and lower body, including sciatica and incontinence.
However, these same painful conditions can also come about from a variety of other causative issues, which sometimes exist simultaneously with a coincidental herniated disc. This is why presumptive diagnosis of neck pain due to a herniated disc often turns out to be incorrect.
explorative article looks at why neck ache may be generated by cervical
disc problems and the treatments which will work best to resolve
specific painful complaints. Also covered are alternative explanations
for pain, when disc issues are coincidental to the symptomatic
A herniated disc in the neck can cause pain due to spinal stenosis, foraminal stenosis or chemical radiculitis. All these structural events are possible and might create actual anatomical reasons for painful symptoms to present themselves in the neck and upper limbs.
However, most of the structural sources of pain generally respond well to appropriate treatment and should resolve in 2 to 8 weeks on average. Relentless pain, which endures for months, years or decades, is very unlikely to be sourced from a herniated or ruptured disc.
Chronic disc pain often turns out to come from a different actual source than the presumed culprit disc. Thoracic outlet syndrome is a possibility for muscular-induced neck and back symptoms induced by compression of the nerve tissues within the brachial plexus.
Meanwhile psychosomatic disc pain due to subconsciously enacted ischemia is one of the most logical and consistent sources of long-term upper back, neck and arm pain syndromes and is almost never properly identified as a mindbody syndrome.
Conservative care modalities will help to resolve some structural sources of disc pain. For patients who do not respond well to popular methods, such as physical therapy, exercise and chiropractic, more drastic means of therapy might be needed. Non-surgical spinal decompression is a good choice for many verified anatomical disc conditions. It is noninvasive and highly effective for permanently ending disc-related neck pain.
Herniated disc surgery should be avoided in all but the most dire of cervical pain conditions. Surgery can often do far more damage than good and might create permanent functional limitations in many patients. There are many alternatives to disc surgery that might be equally effective.
I generally recommend that virtually every patient with structurally illogical neck pain consider attempting the most basic forms of knowledge therapy before escalating treatment to a surgical level. There is nothing to lose and many patients find a complete cure without the risks and traumas of surgical intervention.
Many patients assume that just because there is a herniated disc in their neck, symptoms must be a direct result of the spinal abnormality. This is just not the case. Many herniations are completely asymptomatic and do not cause any pain or problems at all. Many exist for years and are never discovered, since they do not demonstrate any symptomatic expression.
Remember that most chronic pain, regardless of where in the body it is experienced, is a result of an idiopathic process, not a structural abnormality. Your local doctor is not likely to suggest this possibility, since they are trained to find structural scapegoats in order to preserve their economic bottom line.
This is why independent research about herniated discs is so crucial for every patient. Take a lead role in your own care and do not allow yourself to be misled into treatment for a herniated disc, when all the while that spinal condition has caused you no pain and no disability. Instead, consider all possible sources of suffering and do not forget to include the very real chance that the pain may be emotionally motivated, escalated or perpetuated.