What are the symptoms of a slipped disk in the neck?


Quick Answer

Symptoms of a slipped or herniated disk in the neck include pain when moving the neck, severe pain over or close to the shoulder blade, and radiating pain in the upper arm, forearm and fingers, according to MedlinePlus. Patients may experience numbness along the same areas and may notice some weakness. The symptoms often disappear or become less noticeable after several weeks or months.

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Full Answer

Disks separate, cushion and create space between the bones in the cervical, or neck spine, explains MedlinePlus. People have the ability to reach and bend because the disks can move. When people suffer injuries or strains, disks in the neck can slip, moving partially or totally out of place. The slipped or herniated disk creates pressure on the spinal cord or area nerves and causes pain.

When a disk is herniated, doctors use myelograms to establish where and how large the herniation is and electromyography to determine where an affected nerve root is located, notes MedlinePlus. Magnetic resonance imaging shows where on the spinal canal a herniated disk is pressing. Spine X-rays cannot diagnose a herniated disk, but they help rule out other reasons for neck pain. Physical testing includes bending the patient's head forward and to the sides while a doctor presses down slightly on the top of the head. If pain or numbness increase, it is a sign of cervical nerve pressure.

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