What Causes a Herniated Disc in the Neck?

Herniated discs can result from several causes and may cause you immense pain or discomfort depending on your condition. Some causes are preventable, but others may occur as a result of genetics or varying other factors. If you are suffering from a herniated disc, you don’t have to face this pain or discomfort alone.
Our orthopedic medical professionals at NJ Spine & Orthopedic can pinpoint and treat herniated discs through various methods. We can help you figure out what may have caused your herniated disc, as well as offer treatment options that will help alleviate your pain and let you get back to your daily life.

What Are Herniated Discs?

There are 26 bones in the vertebrae that protect the spinal cord. In between each of these 26 bones are discs that act as shock-absorption cushions for your spine. The outside of the disc is constructed of a thick ring of cartilage, with end plates also made of cartilage. The inside core is made up of a gelatinous substance.  

Discs may become herniated, slip, bulge, or rupture when the inner core is forced through a weakened part of the cartilage on the outer shell. Because space is limited, all or part of the inner core that has now been displaced on the outside of the disc then presses on spinal nerves or the spinal cord, causing symptoms such as pain, soreness, discomfort, and more. 

The Causes of Herniated Discs

While most herniated discs occur in the lower spine, the cervical spine near the neck can also be inflicted with herniated discs. You can’t prevent some causes of herniated discs. For example, you can’t control trauma and bodily impacts caused by car accidents and falls. When traumatic forces impact the spine, this can cause the outer cartilage shell of the disc to rupture, allowing all or part of the inner core to escape. 

Another cause of herniated discs can be a genetically inherited disorder that accelerates degenerative disc disease. This disease is usually a general, age-related deterioration of the discs. However, a genetic predisposition to joint or musculoskeletal disorders can hasten the progression.

In addition, degenerative disc disease can be caused by lifestyle choices you can control. For example, being overweight, having an inactive lifestyle, or smoking can impact how fast your discs deteriorate. Extra weight puts undue pressure on the spine, while smoking causes excess coughing that can hasten the weakening of the disc or even cause the disc to herniate. 

Lifting heavy objects using your back muscles instead of your leg and thigh muscles can also cause herniated discs. Before you lift, bend your legs at the knees, and lift the object using your legs. Also, be aware of any repetitive bending or twisting of the lower back and sitting or standing in the same position for long hours.

How Do You Know You Have a Herniated Disc?

You may have a slipped disc if your pain worsens when standing, sitting, sneezing, coughing, or laughing. The pain may also worsen at night or when bending backward or walking more than a few yards.

Herniated discs most commonly occur in the lower back and can cause pain on one side of the body or produce sharp pain in one part of the leg, hip, buttocks, calf, or the sole of the foot. A herniated disc can cause numbness in addition to pain in these parts of the body as well. The leg you feel pain and numbness in may also feel weak.

Discs that slip in the neck can cause dull, aching, sharp, or burning neck pain. Radiating arm pain, shoulder pain, or numbness or tingling along the arm are all symptoms that can result from herniated discs in the neck.

Consult the Spine Doctors at NJ Spine & Orthopedic If You Suspect a Herniated Disc

If you are experiencing symptoms resulting from a herniated disc in the neck, our skilled NJ Spine & Orthopedic doctors can conduct tests and imaging scans to confirm if you have a herniated disc. Then, we can devise a treatment plan to relieve your symptoms and improve your range of motion. Our Concierge Team can help manage all aspects of your appointments as well. 

At NJ Spine & Orthopedic, our medical professionals specialize in spinal afflictions and treatments that can relieve your pain. Call us at (866) 553-0612 or complete our contact form if you’re experiencing pain or a lack of mobility because of a spinal disease or disorder.

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