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Cervical Spine Disc Bulge and Treatment


The intervertebral discs separate and cushion the vertebrae of the spine. Discs have a role in shock absorption and stabilisation as well as allowing movement. Discs are comprised of two parts; annulus fibrosis (the elastic outer layer) and the nucleus pulposis (soft, jelly-like contents). Disc bulges occur when the outer layer of the disc is damaged and the contents are pushed outwards. They may be the result of trauma, degeneration and/or poor posture.


Symptoms of Cervical Disc Bulges

The symptoms of a cervical disc bulge may include;cervical spine disc budge

  • Neck pain which is usually one sided however may be centrally or on both sides of the neck

  • Numbness, decreased sensation or pins and needles in the shoulder, chest, arms and/or hand

  • Pain in the shoulder, chest, arms and/or hand

  • Weakness in the shoulder, chest, arms and/or hand

  • Rest

  • Painkillers or anti-inflammatories

  • Heat or ice

  • Avoiding poor postures which may include frequently looking down at a mobile phone


Several factors may contribute to cervical disc bulges and can include;

  • Poor posture

  • Poor lifting technique

  • Joint stiffness

  • Muscle weakness

  • Muscle tightness

  • Sedentary lifestyle

  • Excessive bending, slouching or lifting


Types of Treatment for Cervical Disc Bulges

Cervical disc bulges require medical attention. Different treatment options include;

  • Physiotherapy which may include; activity modification, exercise therapy, soft tissue therapy, biomechanical correction, postural correction, taping, traction and/or individualised functional training.

  • Chiropractic intervention

  • Osteopathy

  • Cortisone injections


Surgery for Cervical Disc Bulges

In most cases symptoms associated with cervical disc bulges resolve with conservative management however in some cases surgery may be required. Surgery involves removing the bulged fragment of the disc. This is usually done through a small incision in the front of the neck however may also be done from the back of the neck.