Cervical degenerative disc disease is not exactly a disease, but a medical condition where the cervical spinal discs starts to wear out or degenerate. The degenerative discs of the cervical area in the spinal cord also cause the patient neck pain as well as stiffness in the neck. This medical condition is quite rare as compared to the degenerative disc disease of the lower back or the lumbar region. The reason behind this is the simple fact that the neck is far less exposed to force as well as torque as compared to our back.
Causes of Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative discs whether they are lumbar or cervical are common phenomena that occur with advancing age. In fact studies prove that almost 30% of the population suffers from DDD in the age group of 35-50. Apart from advancing age cervical degenerative disc disease can also be caused by a fall or an injury that leads to the jarring of the neck. A twisting injury can also spur degeneration and when the wear and tear of the disc starts to accumulate over time it leads to neck pain as well as other symptoms.
Symptoms of Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease
Apart from low grade pain that occurs in the neck region, the common symptoms of cervical degenerative disc disease are a stiff or inflexible neck, tingling sensation in the neck, arms and shoulder region, numbness in the arms and shoulder, muscle weakness especially in the upper arms regions as well as wrist drop.
Treatment Options for Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease
Once this condition is diagnosed, doctors usually prefer the conservative treatment options and degenerative disc surgery which is usually spinal fusion procedure is only considered in severe cases where the patient gets no relief from his problem even after being in therapy for six or more months.
Conservative treatment options include: exercise, physical therapy, chiropractic manipulation, hot and cold compression therapy, medications like NSAIDs and muscle relaxants, epidural injections as well as cervical collar, cervical pillows, or neck traction.