Disc hernias are neurological disorders (or neurosurgical) resulted by the external compression executed from the slipped intervertebral disc towards the spinal cord canal elements. Frequently this type of disease appears in the lumbar region, but cervical locations are at least or more painful. Cervical disc herniation is one of the most common sources of pain felt in the cervical and neck area, and in most cases is caused by degenerative processes (more than 95%) or in smaller percentage the herniated dic pain is caused by trauma. The symptoms of the herniation are different depending on its localization, but in the most cases we can talk about a Cervical Brachial syndrome with diffuse pain in the neck area caused by the muscle spasm or inflammation.
The treatment, although it isn’t a specific or complicated one, helps relieve the pain and implies the administration of NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), or other efficient pain killers, physiotherapy (for 2-3 weeks) and only as a last resort the surgical cure(only after 3 months of correct treatment and the pain does not disappear or the neurological signs are aggravating).
However other therapeutic measures exist, that patients can “take home” and favor the healing process and relieve heriated disc pain.
- Reducing physical activity. Patients who are suffering from cervical herniated discs and have very nosy symptoms (muscular pain, pain in the cervical area, paresthesia of the superior limb) should temporally reduce their activities and spend more time in bed. They should find an antalgic postition ( a random position in which the pain decreases or at its minimal level), place a towel or a pillow under the neck. The bed rest does not mean in this situation necessarily a prolonged immobilization with the avoidance of any movement type, many other problems can occur not to mention the worsening of the herniation due to neck weakness. You should not stay in bed more than 2 consecutive days, and try do move your legs as often as you can.
- Hot or warm compresses. The local application of ice compresses in the first 24-48 hours from trauma are very useful for decreasing the inflammatory reaction that appears very fast as a response to body injury, and will inflict a series of oedematous complications, functional impotence, pain at rest and in mobilization. From the cervical herniated disc point of view the patient can apply any sort of compresses , cold or warm without any noticeable effect.
- Physical exercises specific for the cervical region (stretches, different movements in miscellaneous directions) are recommended in hernited disc disease as soon as the patient is capable of performing them and only if the doctor approves it. With these sort pf exercises the patient improves the flexibility and mobility of the affected area, as well as the muscle tone. Exercises should be performed with a previous warming of the affected zone done with a hot towel or shower.
- The head turns slowly left, with the left hand minimal pressure is applied to the chin, so that the head turns another 2-3cm to the left. The position is maintained 20 seconds and then the head should be rotated to normal. Repeat the movement for the right side.
- The head turns slowly left, and with slow and careful moves it is tried to touch the shoulder with the left ear. With the left hand pressure is applied to the temple. maintain the position for 20 seconds. Repeat it for the right side.
- The head leans forward and the patient tyres to touch the chest with the chin. Shoulders must be relaxed. Maintain the position for 20 seconds.
- The patient stretches back with the knees stretched, with a pillow under the head for support. The head is flexed. Maintain the position for 10 seconds then relax. Repeat 10 times.
If pain or discomfort is felt, it is a sign that exercises should be stopped.
Maintain a correct posture, inadequate or vicious postures while standing of most back problems patients represent risk factors for maintaining and for the appearance of pain.