Years of movement and lifting can take a toll on your neck. Because of repetitive stress, you may experience neck pain over time. But, cervical disc disease presents more than just neck pain. If you suffer from this condition, you may also experience pain, weakness, and numbness in your hand, arm, and shoulders. Such discomfort can significantly affect your quality of life, relationships, and career.
How Cervical Disc Disease Develops
Your neck’s cervical spine is composed of vertebrae, which are bones separated by discs. These discs stabilize the neck and let it turn from one side to another as well as bend forward to back. Because of these discs, you can move your body however you want. Also, they offer a cushion to absorb shock.
Over time, when these natural shock absorbers become worn, they can begin to degenerate, causing narrowing of the space between vertebrae and making the nerve roots become pinched. Such a process is called cervical degenerative disease. When this disease progresses, your neck will lose flexibility and you may experience neck pain and stiffness.
Dealing With Cervical Disc Disease
As with a lot of Edison cervical conditions, cervical disc disease can be treated without surgery. Usually, it is treated with over-the-counter pain relievers to ease pain and reduce inflammation. You may be prescribed steroids if you don’t get relief from over-the-counter medications.
In addition, you may have to undergo physical therapy to treat cervical disc disease. This therapy includes the use of cervical traction or muscle and joint manipulation to minimize your pain and stiffness. Also, your therapist can recommend exercises that can help increase your range of motion and correct your posture. Other exercises can be done to correct your posture.
If you experience significant numbness or weakness, call your doctor immediately. You may need surgery and your doctor will discuss this option with you, so you know what to expect. Discectomy is the major surgery for degenerative disc disease. This involves removing the deteriorating disc. After the procedure, artificial disc replacement or cervical fusion may follow. Results of artificial disc replacement may be ideal for those who have minimal arthritic changes to their posterior facets. Neck surgery is a great option to relieve nerve roots and spinal cord pressure. It can effectively relieve neurological symptoms such as arm pain or weakness.
Maintaining the Health of Your Neck
Degenerative disc disease usually occurs because of age; however, lifestyle factors can also influence it. Because of your neck pain, you might not be able to take part in certain activities or perfect movements. Thus, you need to refrain from them for a few days or weeks. Additionally, you should maintain a strong posture. To keep your spine healthy, make sure you eat a balanced diet and stay physically active. Also, you should quit smoking and stay hydrated. Ice and heat therapy may also help. Ensure you keep your neck straight and back well supported. Neck pain from cervical disc disease may return; however, you can lower your chances when you take care of your neck and body.