Cervical Disc Herniation
Disc herniation is also called disc rupture or slipped disc. Disc herniation occurs when the tough, outer rim of the disc develops a tear, allowing the soft, central part to squeeze out and enter the canal that contains the nerves that supply the arms and the spinal cord. Symptoms of disc herniation in the neck are pain running down the arm with or without pain in the back of the neck and shoulders. Sometimes weakness and numbness of the arm or hand may also be present. If the spinal cord is affected, there may be loss of coordination in the arms or legs. The painful symptoms usually start fairly suddenly and can be severe, but in the majority of people symptoms resolve over a few weeks with reduced activity, physiotherapy and medications.
Surgery is used for unrelenting pain in the arm or for obvious pressure on the spinal cord. There are a number of procedures that can be used for this condition and the choice is based on the symptom complex and the appearance of scans. These procedures may be performed through incisions on the front or the back of the neck. Sometimes fusion is used as part of removing the disc and stabilising the neck. Most people having this type of surgery on the neck return home after 2 or 3 nights in hospital.