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What are the long-term effects of a herniated disc in the neck?

Herniated Disc in Neck

A herniated disc is a disc in your spine that has burst open, causing its fluid to spread around the spinal cord. This puts pressure on the nerves in your spine, which is painful and can limit your range of motion in the affected parts of the spine or even your arms and legs. 

Physical therapists and other medical professionals can help treat herniated discs. Without treatment, there are some long-term effects of a herniated disc that can cause other problems down the road. 

Long-term effects of a herniated disc in the neck

  • Prolonged pain — An untreated herniated disc in the neck causes pain in the neck, as well as tingling, numbness and weakness. This pain often spreads to other parts of your body connected by the nerves running through the neck, such as your shoulders and arms.
  • Spinal stenosis — Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spinal column grows more narrow. This leads to an increase of pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves running through it, which causes pain and irritation. Spinal stenosis can develop on its own, but usually, it’s a result of an injury or another condition like a herniated disc.
  • Arthritis — Arthritis is a condition that breaks down the cartilage in your joints, causing chronic pain and stiffness. The discs in the spine are supposed to prevent the vertebrae from rubbing against one another and from shock damage. A herniated disc fails to provide enough support between its surrounding vertebrae, which can lead to the development of arthritis.
  • Headaches — An untreated herniated disc creates constant pressure on the nerves running from your neck into your brain that can lead to frequent headaches and migraines. 

Professional treatment is no guarantee that any of these problems won’t happen, but it does help to reduce the risk. Talk to your doctor or a physical therapist today about your treatment options if you have a herniated disc in your neck. 

Visit SSOR for treatment of a herniated disc in your neck

Do you have constant pain and tingling in your neck that may be related to a herniated disc? Our physical therapists at SSOR can examine your neck and determine how physical therapy can help you. Contact our team today for more information about herniated disc in the neck treatment or to schedule an initial appointment.