Can A Herniated Disc in Neck Cause Jaw Pain?

Herniated discs are a painful condition in which a spinal disc break open and is compressed and thereby, leaks out the inner disc fluid into the spinal canal. It can occur in any of discs of the spine. However, over time, due to the natural degeneration and wearing of the spine, the lumbar spine (commonly identified as the lower back) and the cervical spine (commonly identified as the neck) are herniated. Tear or injury is also a common cause behind this herniation.

Herniation of the Cervical Spine:

When the discs in your cervical spine are herniated, which are the C2 and C3 vertebra of your spine, then you will experience sharp pain in your neck. The C2 and C3 vertebra are responsible to maintain support between your neck and head. It acts as a pivot point that allows your head to tilt right and left. As this is a common movement that the neck is habituated in doing this repetitive motion for years, the vertebrae discs flatten under pressure and start to expand. If the pressure is constant and continuous, the outer lining of these discs can break. This causes a jelly like fluid that is found inside the discs, to come out into the spinal canal. Herniation of the spinal discs is referred to this condition.

Can A Herniated Disc in Neck Cause Jaw Pain?

Can A Herniated Disc in Neck Cause Jaw Pain?

Yes, herniated discs in the neck or cervical spine can cause sharp pain in the jaw and surrounding areas. As the jelly like fluid comes out from the discs, it is can impact the nerve roots that lay open in the spinal canal. When the nerve roots are impacted, the person will experience a sharp pain in the part of the body that the nerve carries the sensation for.

In this case, the section of the cervical spine that is herniated, will clearly tell the area of the body that will experience most of the pain.

The cervical spine comprises of 6 cervical discs. If the C2 and C3 discs are herniated and the nerve roots adjacent to these discs are impacted, the jaws and head or the facial parts will experience sharp pain. In case the C4 and C5 cervical discs are impacted, you will experience pain in your upper arm. Herniation of the C5 and C6 cervical discs will cause weakness and pain in the biceps and in the wrists. C6 and C7 cervical disc herniation causes pain and weakness in the triceps and fingers. Likewise, if the herniation is caused in the end of the cervical spine and in the beginning of the thoracic segment, which is C7 and T1, the weakness will be felt in gripping the hand, causing tingling numbness and pain in the little finger.

So, even if the cervical discs of your neck are herniated, you will experience pain in your jaws as the nerve roots that carry sensation from the jaws are impacted due to the leaking of the jelly like fluid from these discs. Hence, if you feel pain in your jaws and have experienced an injury or accident in your neck, see a doctor at once. Even if there has been no injury, you still can have a herniated neck disc due to natural wearing of the spinal discs over time. Before the condition worsens and leads towards permanent damage, medical supervision is a must. Through exercises, medication and surgery (if needed), the condition can be prevented from worsening.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 17, 2018

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