The bones (vertebrae) that form the spine in your back are cushioned by round, flat discs. When these discs are healthy, they act as shock absorbers for the spine and keep the spine flexible. If they become damaged, they may bulge abnormally or break open (rupture), in what is called a herniated or slipped disc.
Herniated discs that reside in the cervical (neck) and lumbar (back) spine respond positively to conservative treatment, and can sometimes regress or reabsorb. Studies published in both medical and chiropractic journals have shown that 40 percent of cervical spine herniations and 60 percent of lumbar spine herniations resolved without surgical or medical intervention, responding only to conservative care.
- Cervical discs are smaller and thinner than discs in the rest of the spine.
- Cervical discs break down quickly, due to decreased mass.
- Cervical discs are typically injured from whiplash type events.
- Most cervical disc degeneration is universal and expected.
- Cervical discs can occasionally compress spinal nerve roots, causing a pinched nerve.
- Cervical disc conditions are the most common scapegoats used to explain neck, shoulder and arm pain syndromes.
The average length of time for treatment is six months. If you have been diagnosed with a herniated cervical disc, do not fear. There is a good chance that your disc injury might heal all by itself. If all else fails, I highly recommend spinal decompression for actual disc related pain. The results are good and the risks are far less than a surgical approach.
A herniated disc in the neck is typically a result of trauma or degeneration, but it can still be treated by an acupuncturist.
Regardless of the location of a herniated disc, it is important to remember that disc conditions rarely cause lasting pain. While some traumatic disc injuries might create acute pain in the neck, shoulders and arms, these symptoms will typically go away all by themselves within 6 to 8 weeks. Chronic neck pain which is blamed on a herniated or degenerated disc is commonly misdiagnosed and might actually be due to some other source, such as ischemia.
Most patients who are diagnosed with a cervical disc problem are immediately affected by the nocebo effect of the diagnostic procedure and often experience a considerable worsening of symptoms after the confirmation of a herniated disc. Doctors who scare a patient into thinking they have been permanently damaged by this diagnosis make this noceboeffect exponentially worse. This is the reason why it is crucial for a patient to learn the facts about disc injuries for themselves.
If you allow your doctor to control your entire understanding of the diagnosis, then you will have to hope and pray that they will not try to take advantage of your ignorance by recommending treatments.