Pain in your neck that shoots down your shoulder and arm may be a sign of a herniated disc. Board-certified orthopedic surgeon Allen Deutsch, M.D., diagnoses neck pain related to herniated discs, cervical radiculopathy, and cervical stenosis at his practice in Bellaire, Texas, and refers you to a trusted spine specialist for treatment. If you suffer from neck pain that radiates into the shoulder, as well as muscle weakness and numbness that travels down the arm and into the hand call or book an appointment online today.
Your spine is composed of hard bones (vertebrae) stacked on top of one another. In between each bone is a soft, rubbery disc that allows your spine to bend and flex. Discs are similar to jelly donuts in that they’re made of a thick outer ring of cartilage with a gel-like substance inside.
When the gel inside a disc pushes through the exterior cartilage, you have a herniated disc. This condition is a common source of neck pain when it occurs in your cervical spine.
A herniated disc puts pressure on your spinal cord, which may lead to painful neck conditions such as cervical radiculopathy or cervical stenosis.
Most of the time, disc herniation results from wear-and-tear damage that occurs over many years. The discs in your spine become dry and stiff and decrease in volume over time. This condition is called disc degeneration or degenerative disc disease.
Many people with herniated discs don’t experience any symptoms at all. However, a herniated disc that irritates nearby nerves can cause symptoms such as:
These symptoms are also common in conditions associated with a herniated disc, such as cervical stenosis and cervical radiculopathy. You should schedule an appointment with Dr. Deutsch any time you experience shoulder pain or weakness.
First, Dr. Deutsch performs a thorough orthopedic evaluation, including a physical exam and review of your medical history. If he suspects you may have a herniated disc, he can confirm your diagnosis with an X-ray or MRI.
Then, Dr. Deutsch refers you to a spine specialist who treats herniated discs. Most of the time, symptoms of a herniated disc improve with nonsurgical treatments such as:
Dr. Deutsch also encourages integrative treatments for neck pain relief, such as yoga, massage, or acupuncture. If your condition is severe or doesn’t improve with treatment, Dr. Deutsch may refer you to a spine surgeon.
For expert diagnosis of herniated discs and their associated conditions, call the office of Dr. Allen Deutsch or book an appointment online.