A cervical disc herniation, also referred to as a slipped disc, is the condition in which the tough outside of the vertebral disc weakens causing the soft internal tissues to bulge or seep out. These soft tissues can put pressure on the nerves in the spinal column resulting in a pinched nerve. When the pain associated with a pinched nerve becomes severe, sensations of numbness and tingling can shoot down the body, affecting the extremities. Typical causes of a herniated disc include whiplash, quick jerky head movements, improper weight lifting and degenerative disc disease. Sufferers of disc herniation complain of dull or throbbing pain in the neck, upper back and/or shoulders.
A steroid injection may be administered in the back of the neck to control pain and reduce inflammation.
Physical therapy may be prescribed in conjunction with anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain, inflammation and restore the neck back to its full range of motion. Muscle strengthening stretches and exercises can teach the patient how to move properly in order to not aggravate the painful disc, and accelerate the healing process.