Cervical Disc Herniation and Calcification

Cervical disc herniation and calcification are explained under the same title because they cause almost the same complaints and are often co-occurring diseases.

There are 7 vertebrae and 6 intervertebral discs in the neck region. There is no disc between the base of the skull and the 1st cervical  vertebra and C1-2. Vertebrae in the neck; It articulates with the discs between the vertebrae in the front and with the two protrusions (facet or apophyseal joint) between the lower and upper vertebrae in the back. The joints in the back are called apophyseal joints. In addition, the ligaments in front and behind the spinal cord in the neck, apophyseal joints, and apophyseal joint capsules are greatly affected by all kinds of diseases in the neck.

In addition; Stress, occupational strains, typing, traffic accidents, posture disorders are important factors that deteriorate neck health. The first change in height starts from the discs. Initially, the water content in the discs decreases, tears occur in the fibers on the inside of the stool, and the gelatinous fluid in the stool herniates through these tears and puts pressure on the nerves and soft tissues. Herniation in the neck causes calcification in the front and back joints of the neck, resulting in loss of movement in the neck and localized radicular (spreading) pain.

What are the symptoms?

The most important symptoms of cervical disc herniation and calcification are pain and limitation of movement. Pain may be in the neck, shoulders, arms, or between the shoulder blades. Sometimes shoulder and arm pain may occur without neck pain. There are many complaints in patients with calcification and hernia in the neck area. Headaches are also quite common. The pain is usually severe, inactivity or wrong movements increase the pain, and the patient wakes up in the morning with a stiff neck. In cases of cervical disc herniation and calcification, there is severe eyebrow pain due to spasm in the neck muscles. Additionally, fatigue, exhaustion, hot flashes, intolerance may be observed.

Pain may radiate to the chest and be confused with pain originating from the heart. Numbness or tingling in the shoulders, arms, or fingers indicates serious damage to the nerves. There may even be thinning in the arm. In advanced cases, weakness may occur in the arms and fingers.

Some neck hernia and calcification may occur. Spinal cord narrowing can cause serious medical problems such as weakness in the arms, spasticity (stiffness) in the legs, and clumsy walking (cervical myelopathy).

How is it diagnosed?

In most patients, it is beneficial as long as the patient's complaints and examination are met. Plain x-rays show flattening of the hernia in the neck, narrowing of the joint space, angulation of the neck and calcification. MRI and tomography are advanced examination methods in the evaluation of cervical hernia and calcification, and are not necessary in most patients.

How should the treatment be?

Cervical hernia in young and middle ages, Neck arthritis is a very common disease in middle and older ages. Most of the time, both hernia and calcification are seen in the same patient. There is no ideal treatment for cervical disc herniation and calcification, which are so common and affect the quality of life of patients.

Painkillers, antirheumatic drugs, eyebrow relaxants, and antidepressant drugs are the most commonly used drugs. Corticosteroids can be used cautiously in acute neck hernias. Neck corsets help the treatment by resting the neck. Injections into the neck area help relieve eyebrow spasm around the neck in some patients. However, it should be done in competent hands.

In addition, superficial and deep heaters, low-frequency electrical currents and traction provide symptomatic improvement in most patients. Isometric neck exercises in the acute period, and isometric and isotonic neck exercises in the acute and chronic periods contribute significantly to the rehabilitation of these patients and minimize recurrences. In these patients, neck ergonomics should be ensured and neck protection principles should be taught. In advanced cases, surgical intervention is performed.

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