cervical bulging discs and radiculopathy
Have you been diagnosed with a cervical (C1-C7) disc bulge?
So you have been diagnosed with a cervical bulging disc and are experiencing severe pain. You have likely developed symptoms of radiculopathy and experience pain and tingling/numbness in your shoulder/arm. You feel increased neck tension and headaches and the pain just seems to keep spreading. The pain is keeping you awake at night and your ability to perform simple tasks is affected.
Sitting in front of the computer or using your smartphone is causing more pain and painkillers (paracetamol) and anti-inflammatory (Nurofen, Voltaren, Brufen) medication is not helping. You persist with medication as suggested by your Doctor but unfortunately you have now started to develop nasty side effects. You return to your Doctor and have been recommended to consider a cortisone injection.
You are not sleeping well, becoming agitated and worried about how you will cope at work, provide for your family or play with your kids/grandchildren. The pain is slowly becoming worse and now affects all aspects of your life. You feel helpless and stressed...
Can you fix a cervical bulging disc/disc bulge?
Like all tissues in your body, injuries sustained to your cervical discs can heal to some degree without treatment. In order to completely recover from neck pain and radiculopathy, you need to promote your body's natural healing and correct the underlying imbalances.
Just remember, hands-on treatments are helpful to reduce pain and symptoms quickly and are more important in the beginning of your recovery process. The actual treatment for cervical bulging discs is education, advice and exercise designed to get you moving safely and rebuild your neck/shoulder over 8-12 weeks. Yes, you can recover from a C1-C7 disc bulge and be pain free with the right management plan.
Bulging discs can occur anywhere along the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. For more information on lumbar disc bulges, click here.
What treatment can help heal a disc bulge?
Your ability to recover from a cervical disc bulge is affected by many factors. Yes, your body can heal by itself however Physiotherapy treatment techniques, specific exercises (see example of neural glide above), activity modification, nutrition and good quality sleep all play a major part in your recovery.
Our Physiotherapists will assess what structures are contributing to your pain and will settle down your symptoms quickly using hands-on therapy techniques. We will teach you targeted exercises to "rebuild" your neck and shoulder strength and address the contributing factors to prevent long term issues.
How long will my neck pain last?
During your recovery, an individualised rehabilitation program is crucial to correct the physical contributing factors affecting your neck pain. Factors include muscle weakness, neck and shoulder posture, joint stiffness and muscle tightness. These factors all prolong your pain and is likely why you developed problems in the first place.
There is no quick fix to these problems and do need a healing time frame of 8-12 weeks. Just because your pain has settled, does not mean you have fully recovered.
Why does my neck pain take so long to settle?
When you are injured, your body naturally tightens up and becomes sensitive to protect you from additional harm. This can cause increased pain, joint stiffness, tight muscles and reduced blood flow. increased muscle tension and reduced blood flow will slow down your healing.
Do not let your neck pain turn into a chronic problem. The sooner you address the contributing factors and promote your natural healing, the faster and better you will recover.