Disc Herniation- A herniated disc in the neck may cause pain if the disc is irritating a nerve. The pain may affect the neck and arms. Other symptoms of a disc herniation in the neck includes numbness, tingling, and weakness in the leg.
Risk factors for developing a herniated disc includes smoking, and working a physically demanding job.
Treatment for a disc herniation is dependent on the severity of the symptoms. Treatment may
include oral medication, epidural steroid injections, physical therapy, and chiropractic care. Surgery is recommended in patients either not improving with conservative care, or patients at risk of permanent or worsening neurological injury.
Cervical spondylosis- refers to age related changes of the spine. These changes include osteoarthritis, the development of bone spurs, and the shrinkage of disc in the neck. Some patients with cervical spondylosis do not have any symptoms. Usual symptoms with cervical spondylosis are aching neck pain which may be associated with pain in the shoulders, headache and limitation in neck mobility.
MRI of the cervical spine is used to determine areas in which a nerve is pinched. Electromyography testing is also used to determine nerve function. Treatment of cervical spondylosis helps reduce pain and improve mobility. Treatment options include oral medication, epidural steroid injections, radiofrequency ablation, physical therapy, and chiropractic care.
Spinal stenosis- A condition in which the hollow area inside the spine becomes narrow. Spinal stenosis can cause nerves to be irritated which leads to neck pain. Narrowing of the spinal canal can also compress the spinal cord, causing clumsiness, numbness and paralysis. Symptoms also include tingling, numbness, and weakness of the arms and may become more severe as time progresses. Severe spinal stenosis may cause progressive paralysis and if untreated.
Imaging of the cervical spine such as MRI, CT or CT myelogram is used to diagnose spinal stenosis and evaluate the severity of the condition. Treatment varies based on the severity of the spinal stenosis. Treatment options include oral medication, epidural steroid injection, physical therapy. Surgery may be advised if other forms of treatment are not effective or to prevent worsening symptoms.
Cervical spondylotic myelopathy- is a condition in which there is damage to the spinal cord of the neck caused by compression of the spinal cord due to severe spinal stenosis. As a person ages, changes to the spinal anatomy may include bone spurs, bulging discs, and thickened ligaments. These changes may cause stenosis, or narrowing of the spine. If the narrowing of the spine is severe, it may cause nerve damage.
Symptoms of cervical spondylotic myelopathy include numbness in the hands, tingling in the hands, clumsiness, weakness in the hands, stiffness in the legs, loss of balance, neck pain, and increased urinary urgency.
The condition is diagnosed based on history, physical exam, and imaging of the spinal cord to determine the severity. Treatment for cervical spondylotic myelopathy includes surgery to remove pressure from the spinal cord. The purpose of surgery is to reduce worsening of the symptoms.