It's not a surprise that almost two-thirds of the US residents experience indicative neck pain once in a while. Considering all the tension and pressure that is put on their neck. It's the usual complaint of many as the neck muscles get strained from poor injuries, rough movements, and improper posture. It can be a sign of a severe health condition like cervical disc generation. You mistook it as neck pain until becoming serious.
What is Cervical Disc Degeneration?
One part of your spinal column is called the cervical spine, which forms your neck. It also consists of seven more vertebrae which are divided by discs. The cervical discs secure your neck and let you turn and move without any problems. It serves as a shock absorber during any activities you do.
The disc is produced of a soft-gel-like inner core and a sturdy outer wall. Primarily, it is composed of water when you are born. As you age, it loosens up some water content and starts becoming thin, giving less shock absorption. These changes in a person's disc may cause the disc to protrude and bulge out. It will press against the other nerves, giving a person different sensations such as limited mobility, numbness, tingling, radiating pain, and muscle weakness that may go down from the neck to the shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers.
Symptoms and Signs
Cervical disc generation is often mistaken as neck pain. But the diagnosis will depend on the symptoms and severity of the condition. The pain might get slower and tolerable, but if sudden symptoms appear from simple neck pain to the person's inability to turn and move their head, it is already a serious matter. Here are the common symptoms and signs of this condition.
- Limited movement
- Neck pain
- Muscle fitness
- Worse pain when trying to move
After a keen review of your health and medical history, a diagnosis is given and achieved. Your health professional will discuss the symptoms and will conduct further physical examination when needed. While the examination is ongoing, you will be asked to do different tasks and describe how they affect the signs and symptoms you feel.
One type of examination to be performed is the neurological exam. It is to test your reflexes, sensations, and strength in the affected parts. Part of the diagnosis is to undergo imaging tests like X-rays, CAT scans, and MRI. They need to identify if the surrounding tissues and nerves are affected as well. From the final diagnosis, your health professional will work on a customized treatment application for your needs.
The remedy will depend on how severe the signs and symptoms are. It will also rely on the recommendations of your doctor. On the other hand, if you will consider a chiropractor, it is still possible for them to treat you without the aid of prescribed medicines. They specialize in manipulating muscle joints in your body and ensure a better functioning one after treatment. Chiropractors will not only help you in locating the cause or source of the pain, but they will give you insights on how to effectively treat it with natural options and proper lifestyle adjustments.
When it comes to treating pain, you can also choose non-surgical options. For neck pain causing by cervical degenerative disc disease, a doctor will usually suggest one or a combination of the treatment options below:
- Lifestyle modification or rest. Some activities might be painful for your neck, like a simple swimming stroke or craning your neck forward to see the computer monitor. Modifying and refraining from these activities for a few days, or perhaps weeks, will typically lessen the pain. Additionally, you have to maintain a proper and strong posture instead of flexing the neck when driving or slouching while sitting. It will help if you stay hydrated, eat healthily, and quit smoking because they are all beneficial for your disc health.
- Pain management with injections or medication. These over-the-counter analgesics or painkillers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen might be beneficial too. If not, you need stronger prescribed medicines for pain like muscle relaxants or steroids. Other alternatives might include injections that provide medication directly to the affected areas of the neck, such as cervical facet injection or a cervical epidural steroid injection.
- Heat therapy or Ice. Some people find pain relief through an ice pack or heated gel pack application to the affected part of their neck.
- Physical therapy or Exercise. Most non-surgical ailment programs for neck pain include stretching and some form of exercise. Trained professionals or other physical therapists can prescribe stretching and exercise routines that meet the specific needs of a person. Generally, maximizing flexibility and strength in your neck may lower the risk of getting pain.
- Manual manipulation. The cervical spine can be adjusted manually through the help of a chiropractor or other qualified and reliable professionals to improve motion range and reduce pain. It will also depend on the patient's symptoms. A physical exam or test should be done before proceeding with the manual manipulation of the neck.
The list above doesn't include all the treatment options, but these are a few of the most effective ones to resolve your pain-related issues like cervical degenerative disc illness. Several other options could be possible as well, like an electrical stimulation TENS unit, massage therapy, bracing, and acupuncture. There is nothing wrong with considering more options, as long as you do your research first of how effective it is and if it's suited for your symptoms.
Cervical disc degeneration is not your ordinary neck pain or stiff neck. It refers to a severe condition and needs proper treatment because of the underlying degenerative process. The discs in the cervical spine started to deteriorate, and it causes the person to experience pain not only in the patient's neck area but in the other parts of the body. Symptoms and signs must not be taken for granted. The goal is to get a treatment that will improve and develop the spinal columns' joint components and other body areas. It helps a lot if you become more conscious of what's happening in your body, especially if the pain is not the common one.