Disc herniation is a quite widely spread disease, a lot of people suffer from this disease, but some cases of the disease stands aside, and we talk about cases when a disc herniation is in the cervical department of spine. The reason for its appearance is some specialty of this department, about which we shall talk below. This specialty can make the life of the patient very complicated and treatment of the disc herniation in the cervical department of spine very difficult.
What is the difficulty?
The main problem is that the cervical part of spine is very small. It looks like some kind of «bottle neck» of the human body, the most vulnerable spot. The volume of the neck is very small; it is possible to say that about the diameter of the spinal canal and about the spinal cord in this canal. At that, through this relatively small part of the body a lot of blood vessels and nervous canals travel. Their high density can be justified by the necessity to supply to the brain a lot of oxygen and at the same time the brain must receive all necessary nervous impulses from all nervous terminals.
In normal situation such high density of the very important vessels and canals do not constitute any problems. The cervical department of the spine is very mobile, even if we talk about people with a very low level of physical activity; this department always bears high load. In this way the organism try to “make insurance” against possible problems.
But this constant load on the cervical department of the spine has “the reverse side of the coin”. The reason for the most diseases of the spine is a metabolic disorder. More often it depends on age, but now we should take into our consideration environmental pollution, and far from being ideal meal hobbits, so such diseases can acquire even relatively young people. As a result the osteochondritis and other spine diseases can appear. At that the intervertebral discs suffer the most.
Why does the disc herniation appear?
Let us start from the fact that the intervertebral discs do not have their own blood vessels. All necessary for their nutrition substances they get with the help of diffusion from the neighboring tissues. And the process of diffusion itself is to some extend «capricious»; a disc can get necessary quantity of substances, under condition that they are not only at their proper place in sufficient quantity, but the person (including neck) have enough physical activity (load). Nowadays as we have already mentioned, we have problems with both of these requirements.
What is going on further? The intervertebral disc begins to lose water, and after that its absorbing abilities. In the result it cannot fulfil its functions, gradually under the constant pressure it starts “to hold its ground”, or to say it easier , to mushroom, as a result in some place protrusions can be formed, potentially future prolapsed discs, and they can be the reasons for some unpleasant symptoms. If the protrusion was formed without any symptoms, then the person preferred to ignore the pain which is not very strong at this stage of the disease, so the next stage is the disc herniation.
In this case we mean that in the intervertebral disc a breakage occurred through which the nucleus pulposus goes out. This movement of the nucleus pulposus out of the limits of the disc is the disc herniation. We are not going to describe the symptoms by which this process is accompanied, we should mention only that for the cervical part of the spine even the protrusion becomes a problem (because of the above mentioned density of blood vessels and nervous canals traveling through the neck), the disc herniation in this case can be easily compared to a catastrophe.
How to solve this problem?
Treatment of patients who have such diagnosis as the disc herniation in the cervical part of the spine must be started immediately after the full diagnostics has been fulfilled. It is necessary to mention that the doctor must make a lot of investigations in order to define the size and the location of the disc herniation, and also to consider the necessary treatment. We are not to get into the details about the abovementioned investigations; we shall discuss possible variants of treatment.
In general, there are two main methods of treatment, conservative and surgical.
How to avoid an operation?
Conservative treatment means that recovery will be achieved without operative interference. In this case a doctor has two main tasks:
- first of all to remove pains and neurological syndromes;
- Secondly, to prevent progressing of the disease and formation of a new prolapsed disc of the spine.
That is why the first stage of treatment denotes particularly removal of the pain syndrome. With this aim the patient is to stay in bed for several days. He is prescribed to take analgesics and anti-inflammatory medicines. Their task is to cut the pain syndrome. At that analgesics just “sweep under the rug” pain, and anti-inflammatory medicines help to remove the inflammation and as a result the compression on the nervous roots will disappear, and at the end it will lead to decrease of the pain syndrome.
In most cases, this is enough for the first stage of treatment, to cut the pain syndrome.
The next stage is to prevent progressing of the disease and wellness. For this purpose their no need of any medicines (in most cases), the main methods on this stage comprise massage and movement therapy.
These methods give an opportunity to restore the state of the muscles and ligaments, which in their turn in the future will keep the spine column in the correct posture and sufficient physical activities will provide normal nutrition for discs. It is quite enough for the future under the condition of regular performing of complexes of movement therapy and healthy meal habits to prevent the patient from occurrence of a new prolapsed disc.
Operation is only the last resort measure
As we have already mentioned, treatment of the disc herniation in the cervical part of the spine is possible to remove in most cases without operation. Surgical interference is applied only in those cases, when for a long time it is not possible to cut the pain syndrome, or the prolapsed disc is the reason for the disorder in functioning of the internal organs.