What is Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease?
A common cause of radiating arm pain and neck pain, cervical degenerative disc disease is the condition when the cervical spine’s discs begin to degenerate and break down.
Cervical discs sit between the bones or vertebrae of the cervical spine, and their role is to absorb shock and allow for flexibility. They separate the bones with their cushioned surfaces, preventing the vertebrae from touching each other. As these degenerate, a person will begin to feel pain, numbness, and other symptoms across the body.
Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease Symptoms
Cervical degenerative disc disease commonly show a number of symptoms, including:
– Neck pain
– Nerve pain
– Numbness, tingling, and weakness from the shoulders down to the fingers
– Pain during movement
In more severe cases, symptoms can include:
– Loss of bladder and bowel control
– Coordination problems
– Inability to move arms and legs
– Shocking pain through the arms and legs
Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease Causes
The cervical discs are naturally made up of about 85% water. As we age, our discs slowly lose hydration, to about 70% water for the elderly. The less hydration a disc has, the more susceptible it is to damage, such as tears and cracks. Unlike other parts of the body, discs cannot be naturally repaired.
There are risk factors that can increase the likelihood of experiencing injury or damage to the cervical discs. These include:
Spinal injuries such as slipped discs can also increase disc degeneration.
How is Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease treated?
Non-surgical and home treatment methods can help alleviate the pain caused by cervical degenerative disc disease. These treatment options include:
– Home remedies such as rest, proper posture, healthy eating, staying hydrated, and avoiding smoking
– Injections or medication for pain management
– Ice and heat therapy
– Physical therapy for back strengthening exercises and stretches