Degenerative disc disease in neck usually affects the cervical vertebrae. Degenerative disc disease in the cervical region is much less common than that of lumbar vertebrae. While degenerative changes in the lumbar spine is the common cause of chronic pain, that of cervical spine causes not only pain in the neck but also pain in the arms with numbness etc.
The reason for lower occurrence is simply because the cervical spine is less subjected to torsion or other injury while compared to lumbar spine.
Facts About Degenerative Disc Disease In Neck
Symptoms Of Degenerative Disease Of Cervical Vertebrae
Pain is the prominent symptom of cervical degenerative disc disease. The pain is often located around the region of the neck. The pain could also radiate to either of the shoulders, arms or hands. There may be chronic pain in this disease. The pain is often aggravated after lifting heavy weights or doing something that causes any stress on the spine.
The person may find some relief after rest. Some find considerable relief after heat compression, especially wet heat. There may be pain along the nerve if the nerve is compressed in the area. This pain is again along the arms. There may be numbness as well. Some describe a burning sensation while others may have a sensation of fornication. The pain due to cervical degenerative changes could also ascend the neck to the head or it could also radiate to the chest, mimicking a heart attack.
The diagnosis is usually made through a cervical imaging along with correlation of symptoms. Physical examination and neurological tests are carried out by the physician to ascertain the cause of the disease. X-ray of the cervical spine is usually taken. MRI scan gives much more accurate results.
Physical therapy often provides much relief to the pain. It would also improve mobility of the joints. Exercise is also recommended to strengthen the muscles. However, care must be taken to prevent movements that would further aggravate the problem. Wearing of a cervical collar provides the much needed support. Avoid lifting heavy weights. Hot compresses also gives some relief. Medical management involves prescription of pain killers and non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs. If not surgical measures may be needed.