Left untreated, a herniated disc in your neck can lead to serious consequences. Whenever you feel pain or discomfort that seems to radiate from anywhere on your spine, including your neck, don’t hesitate to see one of the best back pain specialists in Midtown Manhattan. And when you seek chronic pain management doctors near me, you will find the experts at Pain Management NYC. Call for an appointment now.
The discs along your vertebrae act as cushions because of an interior jelly-like substance. If one of these discs in your neck becomes compressed or injured, the interior of the disc can leak and result in a herniated disc in the neck diagnosis. This condition is also referred to as a slipped or ruptured disc, as the leaked inner substance reduces the amount of cushioning between your vertebral bones, causing pain and other symptoms.
Although some people with a herniated disc in the neck experience significant pain, numbness or weakness, others don’t have any symptoms. In these cases, the disc deterioration or damage isn’t discovered until an imaging test, like x-rays, reveal it. Finding the best treatment for a herniated disc in the neck is your pain management doctor’s specialty.
Causes of Herniated Discs
Disc degeneration is the main cause of a herniated disc in the neck. Aging reduces the amount of water in the individual discs. Over time, wear-and-tear of the surrounding tissues puts more and more pressure on compromised discs. The combination, especially with any added pressure, causes the ruptures.
Occasionally, heavy lifting or an injury can cause a sudden rupture in a specific disc. The accompanying symptoms can occur suddenly. Usually, however, the symptoms gradually become noticeable due to the progressive nature of disc degeneration. If you are obese, have a genetic predisposition to back problems, or are in an occupation that requires heavy lifting, you’re at greater risk of developing a herniated disc.
Symptoms Requiring Herniated Disc Treatment in the Neck
Although symptoms vary, the most common symptoms that require herniated disc in the neck treatment include:
- Tingling or numbness in your arms or legs
- Weakness in your arms that hinders picking up or carrying items
- Pain radiating down your shoulders, neck, arms or legs
Because the nerve that’s affected by the bulge or rupture in a disc in your neck travels through the spine to your lower extremities, you must be careful about worsening symptoms. An event called saddle anesthesia shows up as numbness in the area that would touch a saddle. It can lead to permanent damage. Bowel or bladder problems also may be caused by a herniated disc and require a quick resolution. You should never wait to seek treatment for the symptoms of a herniated disc in the neck. Trust the best pain doctors in Manhattan at New York pain clinic.
Diagnosing a Herniated Disc in the Neck
Specialists at the top New York pain clinic begin with a complete physical exam that includes a detailed medical history to examine your diet, sleep patterns and exercise habits. It’s vital they learn about any surgeries you had, any medications you’re taking and your family history. Your doctor also checks your ability to feel certain sensations, such as vibrations or pinpricks. He watches you walk and tests your muscle strength and flexibility.
Blood work or imaging tests such as x-rays, CT scans, MRIs or myelograms may be ordered to rule out other conditions that are contributing to your discomfort. Occasionally, a nerve test called an electromyogram or nerve conduction test is used to test your nerve responses to electrical stimulation.
Treatment for a Herniated Disc in the Neck
Your herniated disc in the neck treatment always begins conservatively. Your best neck pain management specialists may recommend that you try to reduce symptoms with over-the-counter pain relievers, avoid certain painful positions or movements, engage in light exercise like walking and stretching, and use hot and cold packs to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. If these conservative treatments are unsuccessful, your doctor may recommend:
- Medications such as anticonvulsants, antidepressants that are used to treat pain, muscle relaxers or if your pain is severe enough, narcotics
- Cortisone injections in specific locations to reduce inflammation and block pain signals
- Spine or neck-specific physical therapy to stretch tight ligaments and strengthen tight muscles
- Minimally invasive surgical options for the most severe cases, to remove protruding pieces of the disc that’s causing your loss of sensation, paralysis, or bowel and bladder concerns
Surgery may be required to fuse neighboring vertebrae with special hardware for greater stability. Surgery can also insert an artificial disc to provide greater cushioning. Other accompanying treatments may include therapeutic massage, chiropractic manipulation, or gentle yoga to incorporate relaxation techniques, block pain signals, and provide relief for stressed tissue.
The best treatment for a herniated disc in the neck is prevention. Once you visit the top pain clinic in NYC and receive a firm diagnosis, your doctor helps you create a plan to prevent further pain, slow down any degeneration and avoid a neck injury.
Some of the recommendations made to suit your particular circumstances may include advice to:
- Stop smoking
- Watch your weight
- Learn and maintain correct posture
- Exercise regularly with appropriate exercise programs
Your ticket to living a pain-free life, full of activity begins with a consultation at Pain Management NYC. Contact us today for effective treatment for a herniated disc in the neck.
Leon Reyfman, MD, is a top-rated, best-in-class interventional pain management doctor. He is a nationally recognized pain relief specialist and is among the top pain care doctors in New York City and the country. He is an award-winning expert and contributor to prominent media outlets.
Dr. Leon Reyfman has been recognized for his thoughtful, thorough, modern approach to treating chronic pain. He has been named a “top pain management doctor in New York” and one of “America’s Top Doctors™” for advanced sports injury treatments. Among other accolades, he was voted by peers as a “Castle Connolly Top Doctors™” and “New York Super Doctors™”. Dr. Leon Reyfman was a part of the medical team at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.