Hernia of the cervical spine is a serious pathology, threatening the loss of efficiency. This is a rare disease, it is formed only in 10% of people who have problems with the spine.
What are the causes and symptoms of cervical hernia? Is it possible to get rid of it? These and many other important questions should now be answered.
Briefly about the pathology
Before considering the symptoms of cervical hernia, you need to talk about the specifics of the disease. This is the only way to understand what it is.
This pathology manifests itself in the degeneration and prolapse of the intervertebral cervical disk beyond the boundaries of the intervertebral space. It is less common hernia lumbar.
As a rule, it forms between the 6th and 7th, as well as the 5th and 6th vertebrae. Slightly less often – between the 4th and 5th. Hernias formed in the middle of the 7th cervical and 1st thoracic vertebrae are considered to be almost exceptional cases.
People who are between the ages of 30 and 50 years are usually subjected to the formation of this pathology. Cervical hernia for a long time remains an urgent problem of orthopedics, vertebrology and neurology.
There is another nuance. Since the discs of the cervical spine are smaller in diameter than the lumbar and thoracic, the hernias themselves are smaller. But clinical symptoms appear, even if the protrusion is small. Why? Because in this area the spinal canal is already, like the space for exit from the spinal cord roots.
Also a feature of the cervical spine are the vertebral arteries passing from both sides. Unfortunately, because of this, the hernia is also manifested by vascular disorders other than neurological.
They should be studied before talking about the symptoms of cervical hernia. The reason for the formation of this pathology is the degenerative processes occurring in the disk. Because of them, it loses its elasticity.
Also, fibrous ring cracks are often formed. This results in acute spinal injury or chronic heavy physical exertion. Because of this, the disc can even go beyond the intervertebral space. The consequence is the prolapse of the pulpal nucleus.
Prerequisites of the notorious degenerative changes are the following pathologies:
- Cervical spondylosis.
- Spinal tuberculosis.
- Atlanta assimilation, sphenoid vertebra, Klippel-Feil syndrome and other developmental anomalies.
- Cervicothoracic scoliosis.
- Violation of posture.
- Dysmetabolic processes. They occur in diabetes, abuse of nicotine and alcohol, as well as in diseases that are genetically determined.
- Lack of nutrition of the vertebral discs. Cardiovascular and endocrine diseases, age-related changes lead to this.
- Wrong posture. Permanent stooping and stooping often cause hernia.
- Mechanical damage affecting the spine of the cervical spine.
- Monotonous work. If human activity implies permanent sitting in a position with a lowered neck, then there is a risk of a hernia formation. This can be avoided if you regularly do exercises aimed at improving muscle tone in the neck.
It is important to make a reservation that there may be several reasons. And then they comprehensively affect the development of the disease.
Manifestations of the disease
Now you can proceed to study the symptoms of cervical hernia. They depend on the stage at which the disease is located, as well as on localization. The more hernia is neglected, the stronger the manifestations.
So, what are the symptoms indicate its presence in the area of the first vertebra:
- Noise in ears.
- Severe and frequent headache.
- Nervous strain.
- Insomnia and other sleep problems.
- Violation of coordination of movements.
Interestingly, the symptoms of a herniated cervical at an early stage are often similar to the manifestations of other ailments. That is why at this stage this disease is called chameleon.
If we talk about the second and third vertebrae, the following signs indicate the formation of a hernia in their areas:
- Frequent headaches.
- Panic attacks.
- Sudden deterioration in taste.
- Periodically occurring stars in the eyes.
- Visually noticeable curvature of the neck in any direction.
- Sensation of crawls on the head.
The second and third vertebrae are responsible for the blood supply of the tongue, the frontal part of the head, as well as the main apples. If for a long time to ignore the listed symptoms of a hernia of the cervical region, then the disease will lead to a violation of the speech apparatus. Or even loss of vision.
The hernia of the third and fourth vertebrae, which are responsible for the functioning of the mouth, the labial muscles, and the upper respiratory tract, manifests itself with the following symptoms:
- Impaired vision and hearing.
- Problems in distinguishing odors.
- Inflammation of the trigeminal nerve. It is indicated by dilated pupils, headache (sudden and frequent attacks of thirty seconds), discomfort during brushing, facial muscle cramps, skin itching, and changes in the amount of saliva.
A separate case is a hernia between the fifth and sixth vertebrae. Because in this area the root of the nerve ending is responsible for the yawning reflex, as well as the work of the vocal cords and pharynx. Symptoms of cervical vertebral hernia in this case are as follows:
- The frequent incidence of colds, sore throats, susceptibility to infections.
- Sudden hoarse voices.
- Eye disease.
- Discomfort in the wrists, lethargy, possibly even numbness.
- Constant sensation of coma in the throat.
- Pain starting from the shoulder and ending at the fingertips.
And finally, the seventh vertebra. If a hernia has arisen in his area, then the likelihood of thyroid disease, weakness in the hands with impaired fine motor skills, anemia, symptoms of bronchitis, as well as persistent lethargy in the elbow bends is likely.
Above, the symptoms of a neck hernia were considered in detail. And the treatment will also be discussed later, but before that it is necessary to study the methods of diagnosis, through which it is possible to determine the disease.
The initial stage is characterized only by pain and vertebral syndrome, and therefore it is difficult for the doctor to suspect the development of this pathology. To help establish the diagnosis is capable of radiography of the spine. Through this method, signs of spondyloarthrosis, osteochondrosis and other pathological changes occurring in the bone structures are detected.
It is realistic to visualize the hernia by CT scan or MRI. These procedures are mandatory if the patient complains of muscle weakness in the arm. The indication is the clinic of the vertebral artery syndrome. MRI is an informative and safe diagnostic method, although previously used contrast myelography.
Also, MRI is better than CT, since this method makes it possible to study even soft tissue structures. As a result, it is much easier to determine the size of the hernia and how narrow the spinal canal is.
Often the doctor prescribes electrophysiological studies. We are talking about ENMG, ENG and EMG. Thanks to these studies, it is possible to determine the neural nature of the lesion, as well as how high it is.
To assess the condition of the vertebral artery, reoencephalography with functional tests, USDG, and duplex scanning are performed.
After reviewing the symptoms of cervical hernia and treatment can be told. Doctors prescribe conservative therapy, as it is quite effective (if started on time, of course).
Initially, of course, the doctor determines the size of the hernia, its location. And then he describes the treatment aimed at blocking the progression of the inflammatory process. The goal is also the elimination of pain, due to which the normal functioning of a person is disturbed.
Here are the most commonly prescribed medications:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs – Ibuprofen, Ketoprofen and Movalis. Preparations effectively relieve pain, relieve swelling of tissues, and remove stiffness in muscles. However, their prolonged use leads to the appearance of an ulcer, so the course is limited.
- The means reducing muscular excitability are muscle relaxants. The best drug is Mydocalm. It can be combined with the reception of non-steroidal drugs.
- Pain relief applications. They are made from drugs such as Novocain and Dimexide. Alternatively, spasmolytics can be used. The best are Spazmalgon, as well as Sirdalud.
- Chondroprotectors – Chondroitin and Glucosamine. Help restore damaged cartilage tissue. Also, these drugs are a preventive measure for further destruction.
With the start of therapy, the symptoms of a hernia of the cervical spine will gradually begin to pass. Treatment also involves taking mineral-vitamin complexes, because during the recovery period it is important for the body to receive substances that have a beneficial effect on it. Especially valuable are vitamins C, A, E and D.
It is important to note with attention another nuance concerning the elimination of the symptoms of a hernia of the cervical spine and the treatment of the disease. The fact is that it often leads to neurological problems. And it is desirable to prevent this. Therefore, to all of these drugs add Phenazepam, which has a pronounced sedative effect. And to stimulate the brain, as well as restore memory is indispensable Glycine.
It also helps to get rid of the symptoms of cervical spinal hernia, and also generally helps to alleviate the patient’s condition.
However, to begin physiotherapy is possible only after the elimination of pain. It usually takes 2-3 weeks.
After this period, it is allowed to visit a chiropractor who performs a massage with an effect on specific points of the cervical region. The procedure is considered effective if the patient is diagnosed with joint dislocation.
People say that the symptoms of a cervical intervertebral hernia begin to go through two sessions. The overall condition improves, just as the mood.
It is explainable. By his actions, the doctor returns the vertebra to the correct position, and as a result of this, the paravertebral muscles relax. The anxious spasm disappears, the pressure on the damaged disk weakens, and therefore the nervous constriction is removed.
Another patient may be referred for acupuncture. An irritant effect on the skin receptors occurs during this procedure. And they are known to be connected with the systems of the body and its organs. This procedure has the following actions:
- Reducing pain.
- Strengthening blood flow.
- A surge of energy and strength.
- Expansion of blood vessels.
- Normalization of oxygen and nutrients to the cerebral cortex.
- Improved mood and performance.
- Elimination of dizziness.
Standard course – 15 sessions. People who have eliminated the symptoms of a hernia of the cervical vertebra by this method, urge not to doubt its effectiveness. Acupuncture can indeed be effective, only the attending physician should allow the patient to undergo a course. There may be contraindications.
About this invention it is impossible not to talk about the topic of symptoms of hernia of the cervical spine and the treatment of this ailment. The collar of the Shantz patient is shown on a mandatory basis. It may seem inconvenient, only the benefits of it are tangible. Yes, and you should not wear a collar for long. If you get carried away, then there will be atrophy of the neck muscles.
This product helps to get rid of acute pain, restore blood supply, normalize the emotional background, strengthen the muscular frame, and also get rid of problems with sleep. Collar wearing is indicated even with osteochondrosis and cerebral hernia.
Here is what you need to know about this design:
- The collar does not cause irritation on the skin.
- The shape of the tire does not cause discomfort. It is made to order, and therefore each individual indicator is taken into account without fail.
- Excessive sweating does not occur. The collars are made specially with ventilation.
If you believe the reviews, then this device really helps to get rid of the unpleasant symptoms of intervertebral hernia of the cervical spine. And the treatment of wearing the collar effectively complements. That’s just it, like physiotherapy, must appoint a physician.
If a person has long ignored the symptoms of a cervical herniated intervertebral disease, as a result of which the disease has developed, surgery may be required. It is also shown if a conservative approach for 12 weeks (maximum duration of therapy) did not produce results.
During the operation, the damaged disk is removed. Cervical discectomy is divided into the following types:
- Front. An incision is made on the neck (maximum 3 cm) and the disk is removed through it. After that, install a special plate to improve the regenerative process.
- Back. It is rarely practiced, as there is a huge risk of damaging nerve endings.
- Front, without installing the plate. In this case, the bone tissue regenerates more slowly.
Endoscopic discectomy may also be indicated. This operation is performed in the case of a single-level lesion of a particular cervical fragment. But only if the diameter is not more than 5 mm.
The doctor prescribes an operation if degenerative changes do lead to a deterioration in the quality of life. When a person’s fingers go numb, pain does not go away, coordination of movements is lost, hearing and sight deteriorate, and one cannot do without an operation.
This topic should also be given a little attention, telling about the symptoms of hernia in the cervical and treatment. Unfortunately, there are contraindications to the implementation of surgical intervention. And this is a condition in which the potential threat to life is much higher than a positive outcome.
Therefore, it is extremely important not to ignore the symptoms. For if a critical situation comes, it’s not a fact that the operation will not be contraindicated.
Patients can take risks consciously. Sometimes surgery is the only way to avoid total disability, paralysis, and immobility. But with heart failure, encephalopathy, post-stroke condition, intolerance to anesthesia and severe disorders of the central nervous system, intervention will not be the same.
Consequences and rehabilitation
At the end of the topic on the symptoms and treatment of vertebral hernia of the cervical region, you need to tell about it.
Postoperative complications are extremely rare, as modern surgical techniques allow them to be avoided. But sometimes the following happens:
- Damage to the blood vessels.
- Recurrent nerve dysfunction (temporary).
- Damage to the esophagus, spinal cord and trachea (very rarely).
- Not fully accrete bone fragments.
- Intrusion of an infection into the cerebrospinal fluid (not 1% of cases).
On the first day after the intervention, pain may persist in the neck, muscle weakness, difficulty in swallowing and nausea. 2-3 weeks will have to wear a corset, take antibacterial and painkillers. What is characteristic: the pain that provoked the hernia, stop bothering immediately after the operation.
In the future, you will need to be monitored by a doctor and follow all his recommendations. Each patient is prescribed a personalized recovery program. Its observance implies the performance of special exercises, the purpose of which is to contribute to the elimination of intoxication and improve blood circulation.
Physical therapy will also be needed to help relieve inflammation and swelling in the area where the operation was performed. How long the rehabilitation period will be depends on the complexity of the intervention, the patient’s condition and, of course, his age. All that a person must do is to comply with medical recommendations. And then the prognosis for recovery will be positive.