The disc is a structure, which sits between two vertebral bodies and it works as a cushion or shock absorber. The outer capsule of the disc is tough fibrous tissue and the inside comprises of jelly like substance.

Disc herniation and symptoms

Due to wear and tear, disc material loses the elasticity and suppleness and it can rupture through the tough fibrous capsule and the disc material can come out and potentially irritate or compress the nerve roots. This potentially can cause the pain, numbness and weakness of arm depending on the extent of the compression. Symptoms usually include arm pain, depending on the nerve root being irritated or compressed along with numbness, pins and needles and weakness. The cervical spinal disc disease can also cause the neck pain, shoulder pain, and pain between the two shoulder blades.


The most common investigation for this kind of condition is MRI scan which potentially can give you all the information you need but very rarely an x-ray of the cervical spine and CT scan is also carried out for specific reasons.


Usually, these symptoms subside with the help of non-steroid anti-inflammatories and physiotherapy. Spinal injection is another treatment option, which potentially can be used to help the symptoms. The spinal injections include facet joint injection, epidural or trigger point cortisone injection.


The two most common operations for cervical disc prolapsed are anterior cervical discectomy and fusion in which we remove the disc and replace it with a cage, which is usually made of Titanium or carbon fibres. This procedure results in decompression of nerve roots and spinal cord and also the fusion of two vertebrae together.

Artificial disc replacement is the latest contemporary treatment for a disc prolapse. During this procedure, the disc is removed and it is replaced with an artificial disc.   The outcome of the artificial disc replacement as compared to fusion is the same or similar but the cervical disc replacement or artificial disc preserves the motions neck and avoids the pressure and strain on the adjacent level.