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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.
Return to the emergency department 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.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- 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.
You may need any of the following:
- NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling and pain. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
- Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask how to take this medicine safely.
- Muscle relaxers decrease pain and muscle spasms.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her 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.
Your healthcare provider 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.
Apply heat on your neck for 20 to 30 minutes every 2 hours for as many days as directed. Heat helps decrease pain and muscle spasms.
Apply ice on your neck for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel before you apply it to your skin. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
A physical therapist teaches you exercises to make your neck muscles stronger. A physical therapist also teaches you stretches to decrease your pain.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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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.