Degeneration of the discs specifically in the moving sections of the spine, such as the lumbar levels and cervical is in the process of aging. When the process of aging occurs prematurely or rapidly, it is known as degeneration. The desiccation or dehydration of the disc material leads to less flexibility of the disc. Cervical degenerative disc disease and cervical disc herniation are two conditions which have affected millions of people across the globe.

Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease


This condition is characterized by pain in the neck. The neck pain can be severe when the patient is moving his head or is upright while it reduces by reclining or lying down. It is often that disc is associated with bone spurs or osteophytes. They, in turn, can further decrease the movement causing nerve compression. The cervical nerve roots innervate the back of the neck and head along with the hands and arms. In case they are affected, there is very possible that patient might experience pain, tingling, burning and numbness in these body parts.


Cervical degenerative disc problems if advanced can be diagnosed easily with a plain x-ray which shows reduction or collapse in the disc’s height as well as bony end plate and bone spurs. The best technique to diagnose such conditions is an MRI. It shows disc degeneration and also identifies impingement on the nerves by either soft tissues or bone surrounding them. Changes which occur in bony plates along with increased water content in the bone are called Modic Changes.

Cervical Herniated Disc

It is related to the problem of disc that is located between the spinal bones. The disc is made of soft cartilage material. It can push back and rupture against the spinal cord or the spinal nerves. This, in turn, can lead to symptoms in the neck as well as the nerves which are compressed.


Cervical disc herniated disc causes symptoms of weakness, pain and numbness in the arm and the area surrounding the nerve root which gets compressed. It is not necessary that patients might experience symptoms of headache, neck pain and soreness. However, most symptoms related to this condition occur in the arm. In some severe cases, disc compresses spinal cord causing loss of coordination, loss of balance and severe neural dysfunction.


The radiographic evaluation of this condition starts with an X-ray. A herniated disc is made of soft tissues instead of bones, thus will not appear on X-ray. However, other related changes might be visible, such as the bone spurs, disc space narrowing and arthritic changes. The best way to discover cervical herniated disc is an MRI. In case, bony detail is required, a CT or myelogram should be performed. It is more invasive in comparison to an MRI and might cause effects like headache. In some cases, it is important for defining the anatomy.
In case, you are experiencing pain in neck and spinal cord, then without delay schedule an appointment with Dr. Erik Bendiks. He has years of experience in treating spine and other orthopedic problems.

Author's Bio: 

Cervical disc herniation and cervical degenerative disc disease are two problems which have affected many people across the globe. Timely and proper treatment can help you live normal and better life.