What is Cervical Disc Protrusion?
Cervical Disc Protrusion is a pathological condition of the cervical spine in which one of the discs of the cervical spine comes out of its alignment and bulges or protrudes. Minimal protrusion may not be noticeable and not cause any symptoms but in case if there is significant protrusion of the cervical disc then it may impinge on a nerve root and that is something which may be very painful and cause symptoms like neck pain.
Since the nerve roots in the cervical spine travel from the neck to the shoulder, arm, and hand thus symptoms if cervical disc protrusion may be felt along all these regions. Thus, if a cervical disc protrudes, an individual will experience chronic pain in the neck along with numbness and tingling in the arms and hands and radiation of pain from the neck to the upper extremities.
There may also be weakness of the muscle. The symptoms that an individual with a protruded cervical disc will experience totally depend on the location of the protrusion and the severity of the condition. In majority of the cases, an MRI or a CT scan is enough for an individual to know whether he or she has a Cervical Disc Protrusion.
What Happens If Your Cervical Disc Protrudes?
If the cervical disc protrusion is minimal and not that significant on radiological studies then there is nothing to worry about as there will be virtually no symptoms experienced. The degree of symptoms and disability experienced due to a protruded cervical disc depends on the location of the disc that has protruded and the extent of damage that has been caused to the disc. If the disc is out alignment to such a degree so as to impinge a nerve root then you may feel quite disabling symptoms.
To begin with if your cervical disc protrudes then you may experience neck pain. There will also be neck stiffness and you may experience pain with any sort of movement of the neck. You will also experience a decreased range of motion of the neck secondary to pain. In case if the cervical disc is significantly out of alignment and impinges on a nerve root which basically traverses from the neck through to the upper extremities then your pain may be more disabling and severe.
The pain may also radiate to the shoulders, forearm, and down to the hand as well. Due to the nerve root impingement caused by protruded cervical disc, you may also feel numbness and tingling in the hands as well. Paresthesias occuring in the upper extremities is also something which may occur if your cervical disc protrudes significantly enough to impinge a cervical nerve root. Muscle weakness is yet another symptom which you may experience in case if your cervical disc protrudes.