Cervical Disc Herniation

Cervical Disc Herniation

A cervical herniated disc is diagnosed when the inner core of a disc in the neck herniates, or leaks out of the disc, and presses on an adjacent nerve root. It usually develops in the 30-to-50-year-old age group. While a cervical herniated disc may originate from some sort of trauma or neck injury, the symptoms commonly start spontaneously.

The arm pain from a cervical herniated disc results because the herniated disc material “pinches” or presses on a cervical nerve, causing pain to radiate along the nerve pathway down the arm. Along with the arm pain, numbness and tingling can be present down the arm and into the fingertips. Muscle weakness may also be present.

Patient's Complaints

  •  Neck Pain
  •  Severe one or both arm pain
  •  Numbness and/or weakness in hand


A herniated disc usually is caused by wear and tear of the disc (also called disc degeneration). As we age, our discs lose some of the fluid that helps them stay flexible. A herniated disc also may result from injuries to the spine, which may cause tiny tears or cracks in the outer layer (annulus or capsule) of the disc. The jellylike material (nucleus) inside the disc may be forced out through the tears or cracks in the capsule, which causes the disc to bulge, break open (rupture), or break into fragments.

Injury or weakness can cause the inner portion of the disk to protrude through the outer ring. This is known as a slipped, herniated, or prolapsed disk. This causes pain and discomfort. If the slipped disk compresses one of your spinal nerves, you may also experience numbness and pain along the affected nerve


You can have a slipped disk in any part of your spine, from your neck to your lower back. The lower back is one of the more common areas for slipped disks. Your spinal column is an intricate network of nerves and blood vessels. A slipped disk can place extra pressure on the nerves and muscles around it.


Needs disc excision and fusion

Disc replacement surgery (Preserves neck motion)


I have back pain and believe I may have a herniated disc. What is the best way for me to get a diagnosis?

Seeing your primary care doctor or a spine specialist is the best first step to an accurate diagnosis of a herniated disc. Your physician can perform a thorough examination, review medical history and if necessary, give you a prescription to have an MRI or CT scan taken to confirm the diagnosis. Laser Spine Institute offers a review of this imagery and reporting to determine if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.

What is the difference between a bulge and disc herniation?

The discs in our spine are always under a lot of pressure, and when discs are healthy, the tough outer wall of a disc holds the inner core in place. A bulge occurs when the interior part of the disc pushes to the point that it begins to break through the layers of the deteriorated outer wall, causing a bulge with no rupture. This can still be painful if the bulge pinches a nerve in the spinal cord or a nerve root. Disc herniation is more extreme, in which a tear occurs in the outer wall, allowing material from the center to leak out.