A bulging disc in neck can be quite problematic. Depending on where the disc bulges into, several sensory and motor functions may be lost; in addition to the severe pain that one may feel due to the high amount of inflammatory chemical mediators that the damaged spinal disc ring. The pain, inconvenience, and physical deformity brought about by this condition is a very good reason for physician consult, and thus should not be treated at home. This article will detail the related effects of the spinal disc herniation in the neck and possible remedies to the condition.
Before we begin the list, it should be noted that calling this condition a “slipped disc” should be stopped, as the spinal discs are very tightly sandwiched between the vertebral bodies. They do not slip out from in between them, and are guarded in place by several ligaments and other structures. This term should be discontinued because it causes people to have a false idea of what it means to have a spinal disc herniation. “Bulging disc” is a more apt description of what this problem implies, even though it is more rarely used. So let’s get started.
- Pain (or lack thereof). This symptom may or may not be present depending on the tissues involved in the injury. The pain may be in the location of the bulging disc, or the extremities involved in the bulging disc. For a bulging disc in neck, the pain may be located at the back of the head, to pain of the upper shoulder and most of the arm. This is especially the case if some of these areas feel numb, as the nerves in the neck supply the skin’s sensation in those areas. The pain can be pulsatile, in time with the beat of the heart, or constant; sharp, or dull. Pain is after all a very non-specific symptom. What is specific is that the symptom will be experienced on only one side of the body.
- A lack of reflexes in the arms. A person with working knowledge of how to elicit the biceps, triceps, and brachoradialis muscle reflexes will see a notable difference between the two sides of the body and their reflexes. In fact, abnormal reflexes may be present. For this, a skilled physician or a sufficiently trained medical professional will be needed to perform this test.
- Asymptomatic. Yes, some cervical disc herniations will in fact present with no symptoms whatsoever. A small-scale trial showed that in otherwise healthy volunteers, some of them displayed bulging discs without any additional problems related to the condition. This often happens when the disc does not impinge on any important structures. However, this condition may still need medical observation because disc herniation may or may not progress to a more problematic state.
- Obesity or heavy weight of the body. While this is not an effect, this may be a cause of the bulging disc in the neck. Weight compresses the discs, as the vertebral bodies are hard and do not compress under pressure. The discs seek the easiest way out, and more often than not it is to escape via herniation to the available openings, especially to the posterolateral side, where there is no ligament guarding the disc and holding the spinal column together.
For the most part, if one has a problem with a bulging disc in neck, one should go to a competent physician, not a naturopath. The physician will be able to decide a proper course of action or send the patient to a surgeon or internal medicine specialist to deal with the condition either surgically or by the administration of the proper drug.