Herniated Disc in Neck

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Herniated Disc in Neck – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

herniated disc in the neck

If you are experiencing a herniating disc in the neck, then there are certain facts to be aware of. This page will give an overview of what a herniation in the neck means and how this issue can be helped.

There are numerous causes, symptoms and treatments for this problem, all of which can be answered with the proper education and follow up. Find out what a this condition is, the causes, the different symptoms that can diagnose this problem, and what you can do for treatment.



What is a Herniated Cervical Disc

A herniation in the neck is also referred to as a cervical herniating disc, as it takes place in the cervical spine. This part of the spine consists of seven vertebral bones: C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6 and C7. In between each two of these vertebrae there is a so called intervertebral disc, that makes the spine flexible and absorbs all the shock it gets.

The following video shows the anatomy of the human spine in the neck region and demonstrates very nicely how a neck disc functions.

As seen in the video, each intervertebral disc consists of two main elements: the inner part or, nucleus pulposus, and the outer ring, or annulus fibrosus. The most common cervical areas to herniate are the C6-C7, the C5-C6 and the C4-C5 discs.

So what exactly happens when a disc herniates? Following a deterioration from either aging or trauma, this inner part protrudes through the outer ring and possibly touches the spinal nerve. This in turn can cause intense pain.



What Causes a Herniated Neck Disc?

The immediate cause of an injury in your neck is either some kind of trauma, an accident or a sudden wrong movement, or alternatively it can be just the simple aging process. Notice that we called these just the “immediate”, or direct causes, because that is what usually seems the cause to the logic mind.

However, before this incident that apparently triggered the problem, years and years of weak or unbalanced muscles often lead to a wrong posture. This may the actual root cause of the bulge, even if it doesn’t seem obvious.

What are the Symptoms?

Thankfully, with today’s advanced technology and extensive research, these conditions can be discovered and treated to relieve the pain and heal the ailment. It is important to know your symptoms and discuss them with your doctor in order to properly diagnose this condition.

Symptoms of a cervical bulge can include but are not limited to pain, up to severe shooting pain through your neck, pinching, numbness, weakness and tingling in the area of the neck and even in your arm. If you are experiencing some, or all, of these symptoms, it is likely that you have a slipped disc in the neck and you should seek professional help right away.


Treatment Options

There are several different treatments for bulging discs in the neck that can be minimal to extensive procedures. If the discs are unable to heal themselves, many doctors will suggest stretching exercises and anti-inflammatory medications. Other times, patients may need to seek the practices of a chiropractor or physical therapist to relieve the pain. In severe cases, surgery is required which can range from many different types of surgical technology.

All these treatments will help you get some pain relief, but in many cases it’s only temporarily. In order to get lasting results, you must address the original cause of the problem. Find out what it is by educating yourself and by talking to experts. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and by acknowledging you have this ailment, you are well on your way to both treat and cure your slipped disc in the neck.

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C7-T1 Disc Herniation

herniated disc in the neck

A c7-t1 herniation is a common occurrence of a bulging disc in the neck area, but not as typical as a c5-c6 or c6-c7. A smaller percentage of the diagnosed spinal injuries actually happen at this particular level, as this disc is very robust and generally resistant to injury.

As with other spinal levels, this type of herniation or bulge might become painful if a spinal nerve gets irritated or inflamed. This article talks about these symptoms as well as the treatment options for a cervical herniation c7-t1.

What Exactly Does C7-T1 Mean?

There are seven backbones that are counted among the neck vertebrae. They are numbered from c1 to c7, where the letter “C” stands for “cervical”. The term comes from the Latin and implies something pertaining to the neck. Right below the last cervical back bone, the c7 vertebra, we start counting the so-called “thoracic” vertebrae, which are numbered t1, t2 etc.

So when we speak of a this particular disc, we mean the intervertebral disc that sits in between the c7 and t1 vertebrae. This is a very strong one, as it separates the cervical spine from the thoracic spine. The intervertebral discs are designed to support our spine, serving as shock absorbers and facilitators to make the spine flexible.


C7 T1 Symptoms & C8 Radiculopathy

As already mentioned, this particular disc is typically very strong and resilient, which is why it rarely herniates due to wear and tear, as it is the case with other cervical or lumbar discs. Thus, the most frequent cause of a herniation at this level is major shock due to some kind of accident.

Some of the symptoms associated with a bulge at this level are due to the impingement of certain spinal nerve roots. The typical nerve root affected by a herniation in this area is the c8 nerve root.

When the c8 nerve root gets irritated, the patient may feel radiating pain, tingling and numbness along the arm down to the little finger. At the same time, the victim may have difficulties with squeezing or holding something between their fingers. These symptoms are also referred to as c8 radiculopathy.

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C5 C6 Herniating Disc

herniated disc in the neck

The c5 c6 herniation is (next to the neighboring c6 c7 disc) the most common occurring bulging or herniating disc in the neck area. Many times this can be a very painful experience.

This article will explain what this disc injury type and location means and give you an overview of the symptoms and treatment options for a herniation at this spinal area.

Let’s start with explaining what c5 and c6 means:

The Disc Between the C5 and C6 Vertebrae

There are 7 back bones, also called vertebrae, in the neck portion of the spine. These are all abbreviated with the letter “c” for “cervical” and numbered from c1 to c7. Between each of these back bones or vertebrae there is a disc that helps absorb the weight and at the same time makes the neck more flexible.



The c5 c6 disc is located between the c5 and c6 vertebrae. The c5, the c6 and c7 vertebrae are the ones that carry the most weight in the neck region, so obviously the two discs that are between them (c5-c6 disc and c6-c7 disc) run the highest risk of being somehow injured.

What Are Typical Symptoms?

As with any slipped disc, the probability that some spinal nerve root is being irritated or compressed in the process is high. In the neck region this means that the nerves that support or serve the shoulders, arms and hands, can be affected.

When a disc herniates or bulges at this location , the c6 nerve root is the one that is probably being touched by the bulge. This can result in radiating pain, numbness or tingling from the neck and shoulder region along the upper arm down to the thumb.

Additional symptoms may involve the feeling of weakness in the arm as well as the inability to perform certain moves. If the c5 nerve has been irritated, the weakness is typically felt in the upper arm towards the outer side of the arm. Alternatively, a pinching of the c6 nerve root will likely result in a weaker biceps as well as a difficulty of wrist extension.

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C6 C7 Herniating Disc

herniated disc in the neck

A c6 c7 herniation is a very common injury of the spine and is generally quite painful. It is the most frequent occurring kind of spinal problem in the cervical area next to the adjacent c5 c6 disc.

After these two, the third most common neck condition is the c4-c5 herniation. All three conditions show similar symptoms and basically demand for the same general treatment requirements.

This article will focus on the particularities of a bulge or herniation between c6 and c7, the causes, symptoms and treatment possibilities.

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C4-C5 Disc Herniation

herniated disc in the neck

A c4-c5 herniation is one of the most common occurring injuries in the neck area that are related to spinal conditions. The two other very frequent occurrences of a herniation in the neck are usually at the c5 c6 as well as the c6 c7 levels.

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