The cervical spine is the most flexible part of the spinal cord. Due to this, it is also prone to various injuries and cervical disc bulge is one of them. It can occur due to degeneration, daily wear-and-tear, injury, poor posture, poor lifestyle etc. Nerves emerging from the cervical discs mainly supply to the neck, shoulders, arms and hands giving rise to pain, tingling and numbing sensations. However, it can also give rise to symptoms of facial tingling or pain.
Can Cervical Disc Bulge Cause Facial Tingling or Pain?
One question that has been frequently asked by patients as well as been the topic of discussion, research and reports of doctor is, whether cervical disc bulge can cause facial pain or not. The answer to it is perhaps yes. Clinically referred to as cervicogenic facial pain, this type of pain is often reported by patients, who have been diagnosed with herniation of the cervical discs. Usually these patients suffer from neck pain or pain in the arms. However, it has long been reported that facial tingling or facial pain is an added symptom of cervical disc bulge that they experience.
Earlier it was believed that the facial tingling or pain was caused due to the excessive sensitivity of the patient as a result of the bulging cervical disc. Besides, it was even considered that the patients feigned the pain to claim better insurance support. In contrary, research studies have proven that this facial tingling and numbing facial pain is quite common in case of bulging cervical disc into the spine.
What Causes the Facial Tingling or Pain due to Cervical Disc Bulge?
Any kind of facial sensation is associated with the trigeminal nerves. These are cranial nerves that directly arise from the brain. When there is a disorder of these trigeminal nerves, different facial sensations and pains are encountered. In most cases, the sensation is similar to that of numbness or a tingling pain that is concentrated in only one side of the face.
There are a number of conditions that are associated with the cervical disc bulge leading to this facial tingling or pain and these are –
How Does the Facial Tingling or Pain Occur Due to Cervical Disc Bulge?
Understanding the mechanism of the pain is important to determine, why sufferers of cervical disc bulge actually encounter the facial tingling or pain.
Right above the spinal cord, there is the brain stem or mid-brain. The trigeminal nerves are extended from this brain stem. However, the nerve fibres that actually form the nerve, originates from the third cervical segment of the spinal cord that is known as C3. Surrounded by ganglions, these spinal nerves interact with the brain to cause pain in the neck and face.
There are receptors that carry the pain and other sensations like pressure, touch, temperature etc. to the brain. However, due to the interconnection of these nerves, the pain sensation reaches the brain through different pathways. Hence, even if a single nerve is damaged, the other nerves carry the sensation. Therefore, there is only a partial loss of sensation and not a complete numbness. This is the reason why there is a tingling sensation in the face, when you have a bulge in the cervical disc.