Cervical Disc Protrusion

Cervical disc protrusion, commonly known as disc bulge occurs when the spinal discs and associated ligaments are intact, but may form a bulge that will press on the spinal nerves.

Symptoms

This condition causes pain in the neck, shoulder and the arms. Usually, the symptoms include a dull, aching, or sharp pain in the neck or the shoulder blades. Sometimes, the pain may radiate along the arms to the hands and fingers. Tingling sensation and numbness may be felt at the fingertips. It generally develops in individuals in age group of 30–50 years as a result of trauma to the cervical spine. It is necessary to seek medical care before your symptoms get worse.

Diagnosis

Initial visit to your doctor may include a physical examination, evaluation of your symptoms and medical history and a neurological examination. A computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be advised to assess the disc damage.

Treatments

Both surgical and non-surgical treatment approaches are available for management of cervical disc protrusion.

The first line of treatment your doctor may suggest is conservative methods such as cold or heat therapy. During the first 2-3 days, applying ice (wrapped in a towel) can reduce swelling and pain by limiting the blood flow. Heat therapy can be started after 3 days to increase the blood circulation and relax the soft tissues. Cold/heat therapy should not be continued for more than 20 minutes each time. Medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants may be prescribed. Physical therapy treatments which include massage, stretching exercises and neck traction may be recommended. Most of the time, these self-care measures alleviate your pain in about 4-6 weeks. If the condition is severe that cannot be treated with conservative approaches or in case of spinal cord compression, your doctor may recommend surgery. Cervical disc protrusion can be corrected by partial discectomy, discectomy (removal of disc), or laminotomy. These spine surgeries can be done using the minimally invasive method involving smaller cuts and tiny instruments.

  • Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital

    NHS

    Ashford and St Peter’s
    Hospital
    NHS Foundation Trust
    Guildford Road, Cherstey,
    Surrey, KY16 0PZ.
    Ph: 01932 872 000
  • The BMI Runnymede Hospital

    Private

    The BMI
    Runnymede Hospital
    Guildford Road,
    Ottershaw, CHERTSEY,
    KT16 0RQ.
    Ph: 01932 877800
  • Spire St Anthony’s Hospital

    Private

    Spire St Anthony’s
    Hospital
    801 London Road,
    NORTH CHEAM,
    SM3 9DW.
    Ph: 020 8337 6691
  • Nuffield Health Woking Hospital

    Private

    Nuffield Health
    Woking Hospital
    Shores Road,
    WOKING,
    GU21 4BY.
    Ph: 01483 331257
  • Ramsay Health Ashtead Hospital

    Private

    Ramsay Health
    Ashtead Hospital
    The Warren,
    Ashtead, Surrey.
    KT21 2SB.
    Ph: 01372 221400