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Cervical Herniated Disc - Treatment Options

Aug 28, 2008
There are 2 main reasons why a cervical herniated disc is not as common as a herniated lumbar disc, they are: firstly, there is not much disc material located in the cervical spine and secondly, there is not much force applied along the cervical spine in comparison to the lumbar section of the spine. A herniated cervical disc nonetheless can be very debilitating and complex to treat.

In most cases of a herniated cervical disc protrude on the side of the spinal passage and will impinge upon the (foramen) nerve root. If the nerve roots space is compromised due to (osteophytes) bone spurs or the collapse of the disc space, the impingement added to the disc can irritate the nerve root thus causing radiculopathy (arm pain). If the nerve root is not compromised, the temporary pain in the arm may be relieved by conventional treatments available from your drug store or pharmacy.

A herniated cervical disc normally requires basic conservative treatments such as rest and light physical rehabilitation, surgery is the last option and reserved only for severe cases of a herniated cervical disc where all other avenues of treatment have been exhausted.

If chronic pain persists for a period longer than two weeks, oral steroids should be taken to combat the symptoms. Oral sedatives can be taken for extreme pain but only for a few days or a maximum of two weeks. Any form of steroid treatment needs to be monitored and regulated via your doctor or physician.

When pain persists, conservative treatments like the following should be taken:

1) Physical Therapy

Physical therapy or exercise to relieve nerve root pressure - Chiropractic treatments to also help relive pressure on the nerve root - Manual traction to help open the cervical foramen

2) Epidural Injection

One may also consider using epidural injections if the pain is not relieved utilizing physical treatments. The pain caused by a herniated cervical disc can be relieved effectively most of the time- however in extreme cases more persistence is required. If in case the initial epidural injection does not work immediately, further injections should be administered every 2 weeks for up to a period of 3 months. If 2 to 3 months of physical and medical treatments fail then surgically removing the disc to relieve the pain may be considered as a viable option.

3)CT Or MRI

A CT scan or MRI can be used to confirm the level of the affected cervical disc herniation. If the scan can verify the severity and complexity of the herniated cervical disc then surgery would be the more desired option.

There are two types of surgery involved in the effective treatment of a herniated cervical disc. They are:

4) Surgery

There are 2 types of surgery options. Anterior surgery opens the foramen to give more space to the nerve root. Posterior surgery is advisable for patients with an enlarged disc located in the side of the nerve canal.

Both Anterior and Posterior surgeries have proven to be effective for the majority of sufferers, but as always take the advice of your physician or treating doctor before contemplating surgery for a cervical herniated disc.
About the Author
Want further information on cervical herniated disc, symptoms and treatments? Please visit: http://www.herniated-disc-advice.com (Visitors will receive a FREE Ebook on herniated disc exercises)
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