A cervical herniated disc pinched nerve is another name for a foraminal stenosis diagnosis resulting in compression of a spinal nerve root due to a bulging or ruptured disc. Pinched nerves are the most commonly implicated reason for disc pain, although they rarely actually occur from herniations.
Even when the disc does bulge into the neuroforaminal space, the nerve is rarely affected, unless virtually the entire foramen is blocked off or the nerve is effaced under extreme pressure, and neither of these conditions represents the usual case of foraminal stenosis from an average cervical disc pathology.
This treatise centers on explaining the occurrence of cervical pinched nerves in relation to a disc abnormality in the neck.
What is a Cervical Herniated Disc Pinched Nerve?
A pinched cervical nerve root occurs when a herniated disc in the neck compresses the nerve which exits the spine at the affected vertebral level. All pinched nerves used to be thought to produce lingering pain, tingling weakness and numbness, but clinical evidence now suggests otherwise.
Although some minor nerve impingement issues can create a variable symptomatic pattern detailed above, the majority of truly compressed nerves are consistent in their expression. A real compressed nerve will not signal at all and will create conditions of objective numbness and weakness in a defined muscle set. There should be no regular pain or tingling and no subjective numbness or weakness. This is often demonstrated in various medical treatments for back pain, when doctors use surgery to burn, tie or cut nerve tissue to enact pain relief.
Cervical Pinched Nerve Treatment
For actual cases of pinched nerves due to a herniated disc, there are few options. Some patients decide to wait it out, which may or may not enact relief. However, long-term nerve impingement can cause lasting or permanent damage to sensitive nerve structures, so this is rarely the best bet.
Non-surgical spinal decompression offers hope for a cure in some patients with particular disc concerns. Best of all, it allows patients to avoid the potential horrors of spinal surgery.
Most patients will undergo invasive surgical decompression of the nerve root via discectomy, foraminotomy and/or laminectomy. In these cases, the symptoms will typically resolve, as long as the diagnosis is correct and the procedure is performed properly. Of course this is asking quite a lot, since many disc issues are misrepresented as the source of pain and a great number of surgeries involve complications and even iatrogenic negligence.
Cervical Herniated Disc Pinched Nerve Facts
A pinched nerve in the neck can be a scary condition, as it will generally cause weakness and numbness in the neck, upper back, shoulders, arms, hands or fingers. For conditions which include pain, tingling and subjective symptomologies, the diagnosis has a greater chance of being incorrect. In these cases, there may be another anatomical or psychosomatic reason for the pain, including regional ischemia, thoracic outlet syndrome or some other neurological issue.
It is crucial to take an active role in your own care and compare your real symptoms to the clinical expectations, in order to avoid wasting time treating a misdiagnosed disc pain syndrome. If you are not sure how to accomplish this, start by talking to your neurologist and getting a few diagnostic opinions before settling on any specific path to treatment.