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Cervical Disc Herniation
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Cervical disc herniation occurs when a cervical disc bulges out. Cervical discs are natural, spongy cushions between the vertebrae (bones) in your neck. The bulging disc may press on your nerves or spinal cord.
You may need any of the following:
- NSAIDs decrease swelling and pain. This medicine can be bought without a doctor's order. This medicine can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your primary healthcare provider (PHP) if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow the directions on it before using this medicine.
- Prescription pain medicine helps decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take this medicine.
- Muscle relaxers and steroids may also be given. Muscle relaxers help relax your muscles, and decrease pain and muscle spasms. Steroids decrease inflammation.
- Injections of medicine may also be given. Chemonucleolysis helps shrink your bulging disc. An epidural numbs the area near the bulging disc and decreases pain. A nerve block is given close to the nerve that is near the bulging disc. This can help decrease pain and inflammation.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your PHP if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your PHP as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Your PHP may have you rest in bed to prevent further injury to your neck. Ask how long you should rest and when you can return to your daily activities.
A physical therapist works with you to make your neck muscles stronger and decrease your pain. A physical therapist can teach you exercises and stretches that help your neck and back.
You may need to wear a neck brace or use a special pillow to support your neck. Support devices help decrease your neck movement and prevent more damage.
Contact your PHP if:
- You begin leaking urine or stool.
- Your pain gets worse even after you take medicine.
- Your voice suddenly becomes hoarse.
- You have trouble swallowing.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- You suddenly have trouble breathing.
- You lose feeling in one or both of your arms.
- You are suddenly not able to move your neck, or one or both of your arms.
- You are not able to move one or both of your legs.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.