Cervical Disc Herniation
At Dr Neck Pain, we are dedicated to providing effective and comprehensive chiropractic care for patients suffering from cervical herniated discs.
Cervical Disc Herniation: The Effectiveness of Chiropractic Care for Cervical Herniated Discs
At Dr Neck Pain, we are dedicated to providing effective and comprehensive chiropractic care for patients suffering from cervical herniated discs. In order to fully understand the efficacy of chiropractic care in relation to herniated discs and degeneration, it is important to carefully examine each component and establish a clear understanding of the terminology used. Our goal is to ensure accurate reporting and visualization of pathology, adhering to accepted standards and providing the best possible care for our patients.
If you’re experiencing pain radiating from your neck into your arm, you’re not alone. Cervical herniated disc is a common condition that affects many individuals. In this article, we will provide you with a detailed understanding of cervical herniated disc symptoms, its causes, and various treatment options available to alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with this condition.
Understanding the Terminology: Chiropractic Spinal Adjustment vs. Manipulation
To avoid confusion between chiropractic care and other professions that involve some form of manipulation, we prefer to use the term “chiropractic spinal adjustment” (CSA) when referring to spinal therapy performed by a chiropractor. This term emphasizes the specialized training and procedures unique to chiropractic care. On the other hand, “manipulation” encompasses a broader category of treatment methods performed by physical therapists or osteopaths, which may differ in approach and desired outcomes.
While physical therapists may use manual therapy interventions directed at the cervical or thoracic spine, chiropractic spinal adjustments involve high-velocity thrusts of small amplitude, specifically tailored to the individual patient’s needs. It is important to differentiate between these approaches, as the training and techniques employed by chiropractors can yield different results and treatment goals.
Understanding Cervical Herniated Discs
A cervical herniated disc can cause a wide range of symptoms, from a dull ache in the neck, arm, and/or hand, to electric-like pain that radiates into these areas. Some individuals may also experience arm or hand numbness or weakness. It’s important to note that while a cervical herniated disc can result from trauma or neck injury, symptoms often begin spontaneously.
Symptoms of a cervical herniated disc typically manifest in one arm or the other and can vary depending on which disc has herniated and which nerve root has become pinched or inflamed. In rare cases, the pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness may affect both arms or extend further down the body if the spinal cord is affected. Loss of bowel and/or bladder control is a rare but potential outcome.
What is Cervical Disc Herniation?
Cervical disc herniation refers to the abnormal bulging or rupture of the intervertebral discs in the neck (cervical spine). The vertebrae in our spine are cushioned by these round, flat discs, which act as shock absorbers and maintain spinal flexibility. When these discs become damaged, they can bulge or rupture, causing a herniated or neck slipped disc.
Causes of Cervical Disc Herniation
Cervical disc herniation is commonly caused by wear and tear on the discs, a process known as disc degeneration. As we age, the discs lose some of their fluid, making them less flexible and more prone to damage. Additionally, injuries to the spine can result in tiny tears or cracks in the outer layer of the disc, leading to a herniation. It's worth noting that smoking increases the likelihood of developing herniated discs.
Recognizing the Symptoms
Individuals with cervical disc herniation may experience various symptoms, including pain, numbness, or weakness in the neck, shoulders, chest, arms, and hands. In some cases, a large herniated disc in the neck can cause unusual tingling or weakness in other parts of the body, such as the legs.
Risk Factors for Cervical Herniated Disc
The risk of developing a cervical herniated disc tends to increase with age. It is most likely to develop between the ages of 30 and 50. While previous studies suggested that men are at a higher risk, recent research indicates that women may also be susceptible to this condition. The occurrence of cervical herniated discs in the adult population has been estimated to be between 0.5% and 2%. However, it's important to note that many cases may go undiagnosed, and the estimates could vary based on the specific population studied.
Defining Herniated Discs
When discussing disc-related issues, it is essential to use consistent and accurate terminology. Fardone et al. (2014) have provided widely accepted definitions that establish clear nomenclature for proper reporting and visualization of disc pathology. In the past, various terms such as bulge, protrusion, prolapse, or herniation have been used interchangeably, leading to confusion and inconsistent communication among healthcare professionals. According to Fardone et al., a herniated disc refers to the displacement of disc material beyond the intervertebral disc space. This includes localized displacement of the nucleus, cartilage, fragmented apophyseal bone, or fragmented annular tissue, within 25% of the disc circumference. By adopting this standardized definition, we can ensure consistency in diagnosis and treatment planning, facilitating effective communication and improved patient outcomes.
Understanding Spinal Degeneration
Spinal degeneration often accompanies herniated discs and involves changes in the vertebral body endplates and bones of the spine. Michael Modic, a renowned neuroradiologist, classified these changes into three categories in 1988. Viroslav (2016) describes these changes as follows:
The Efficacy of Chiropractic Care for Cervical Disc Herniation
Several studies have examined the effectiveness of chiropractic care for cervical disc herniation and associated degenerative changes. Kressig et al. (2016) conducted a prospective study on patients with symptomatic cervical disc herniation who were treated with high-velocity, low-amplitude spinal manipulation (chiropractic spinal adjustment). The results demonstrated significant improvement in patients with Modic changes (associated with degenerative changes) compared to baseline scores. Importantly, none of the patients reported worsening of their condition, and there were no serious adverse events reported.
These findings are consistent with previous studies on lumbar disc herniation, indicating that chiropractic care can yield positive treatment outcomes. It is worth noting that concerns regarding cervical high-velocity, low-amplitude manipulation leading to vertebral artery dissection and stroke have been studied extensively. A national survey by Thiel et al. (2007) involving nearly 20,000 patients treated with cervical high-velocity, low-amplitude manipulation found no reports of serious adverse events.
The literature supports the significant improvement observed in patients with cervical disc herniation when treated with chiropractic care. By utilizing an accepted disability index and considering the presence of inflammation and degenerative changes, chiropractic care has demonstrated positive outcomes. Our commitment at Dr Neck Pain is to offer effective solutions to individuals seeking relief from herniated discs and associated conditions.
By providing accurate reporting, adhering to best practices, and prioritizing patient care, we aim to empower our patients to make informed decisions about their health and well-being. At Dr Neck Pain, we specialize in back pain, neck pain, headaches, migraines, sports injuries, car accident injuries including whiplash, spinal decompression, chiropractic pediatric care, and more.
If you are in Singapore City Hall, Bugis, CBD, Orchards, and are seeking high-quality chiropractic care, please don’t hesitate to book a 10 min tele-consultation.
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