Enjoying lasting relief from a cervical herniated disc might require treatment or surgery, but in many cases may not require any therapy at all. Cervical herniated discs are the second most common variety of intervertebral prolapse, beaten only by the vast number of lumbar herniations. Cervical herniated discs are commonplace due to the design of the neck anatomy, the physical and psychogenic stress placed on the region, as well as the continuous movement that is required of the neck.
Statistics are clear that most herniated discs in the neck are asymptomatic. Most bulging discs are results of degeneration, including intervertebral desiccation and osteoarthritis, as well as typical changes in the curvature of the neck in response to aging. Some cervical herniations can also result from traumatic injury, less common spinal abnormalities and idiopathic factors, as well. All herniated discs have the potential to become pathological, but fortunately, few actually traverse that path. However, for those herniations that do create symptoms, patients are often faced with difficult choices in order to find relief.
This patient guide provides tips of achieving relief from cervical intervertebral pathologies. We will details important steps that all patients should take when questing after pain relief due to a problematic herniated disc in the neck.
Relief from Cervical Herniated Disc Background
As mentioned above, most intervertebral herniations, regardless of where in the human spine they might occur, are asymptomatic. They simply exist without causing any pain, since they do not influence the functionality of any nerve tissue.
Herniated discs, no matter how large or clinically significant, are not inherently painful. Spinal discs are little more than organic jelly contained within a fibrous outer shell. They contain no internal blood vessels or nerve tissues. In essence, disc themselves feel no pain. They are simply cushions between vertebral bones and are designed to absorb stress and trauma, as this is their main purpose.
Spinal discs are certainly subject to age and activity-related damage, but these processes are normal and universally experienced in adults to one degree or another. In the lower back and neck, the evidence of disc deterioration, desiccation and frequent herniation is seen in more adults than not. While still considered abnormalities when compared to a textbook perfect spine, disc herniations should actually be thought of as normal, since they tend to be there in virtually all mature people.
Therefore, being diagnosed with a herniated cervical disc is really nothing to be surprised about or worried about. Do not let their reputation create a substantial nocebo effect, as this will cause you pain, when the disc most probably will not. The main priority after positive identification of an intervertebral irregularity of any type in the neck is to determine if the disc is potentially creating any symptoms due to some form of pathological process. This leads us to the most important aspect of diagnosis…
Relief from Cervical Herniated Disc Process
We do not like to consider the discovery of a herniated disc to be a diagnosis. It is merely an observation that does not necessarily explain any symptoms that may be present. Diagnostic evaluation actually begins after the herniated disc is found, since now the doctor can take time and effort to analyze the spinal disc and determine its pain causing potential. This is real diagnostic processing.
The diagnostic process should include evaluation via MRI, when available. This form of technology provides the best interior view of disc abnormalities, as well as assists in ascertaining their pain-generating potential. MRI is frequently utilized in the developed world, but is not complete as a diagnostic protocol. Equally important, if not more important, are tools of traditional doctoring that are often set aside in the unenlightened treatment industry of today’s money-hungry healthcare sector.
A comprehensive physical exam is crucial in order to help correlate symptoms to any disc abnormality. This type of exam is rarely performed. I have personally witnessed hundreds of herniated disc examinations over many years, few of which provided any type of true and useful physical exam. This is not doctoring. This is idiocy. Physical exam provides just as much evidence of pathology as any imaging study ever could.
Another vital component of the diagnostic process is location-specific symptomatic correlation. If pain exists, it should be compared carefully and analytically to the location, severity and characteristics of the discovered disc abnormality. In most cases, the symptoms will not correlate by location, duration, severity, pattern or other factors, making the disc unlikely, or even impossible, as the causative mechanism. These scientific facts are rarely considered by most non-neurologist care providers who basically do not use symptomatic correlation in their practice. Instead, they actually use the unscientific justification of symptoms being linked to the disc, even when the scenario of causation seems extremely unlikely or anatomically impossible. We have seen this literally tens of thousands of times!
Relief from Cervical Herniated Disc Tips
At this point, you might be starting to ask yourself, “Hey, where is the part about me finding relief?” Well, you are completely missing the point…
Finding neck pain relief is all about achieving an accurate diagnosis. Without this key goal being successfully met, you will have virtually no hope of ever being cured. We are talking about being in pain forever. Does this sound like a fate you want? Of course not, so focus on your diagnosis. Focus until you are sure that whatever verdict is rendered stands up to objective and nonfinancially-motivated scientific verification.
If you are ahead of the game and know 100% that your diagnosed herniated disc is indeed the true cause of your pain and not acting as some scapegoat condition, then please feel free to move ahead to read about your many treatment options for a herniated disc and even peruse our detailed section on neck surgery. However, if you are less than 100% sure that your diagnosis is accurate, do not proceed forward with any type of treatment, especially surgery.
Until you are positive, you must refocus your efforts on confirming diagnostic accuracy. Diagnosis should be the most complicated part of the equation; not treatment. Treatment should be easy and effectual if the diagnosis is sound. The fact that treatment tends to fail, often with horrific outcomes, demonstrates clearly that diagnosis is being rushed and given inadequate attention. This is logical, given the lack of profitability from diagnostic evaluation when compared to the minimal time and effort needed to make 100 times the money from treating herniated discs.
Is there any wonder why doctors neglect proper diagnostic processing in your mind now? If so, you need to better understand the economics of medical science and know for sure that your health and future often take a backseat to the amount of money a care provider can make from you, with as little effort on their part as possible.