What Are the Symptoms of and Treatment Options for Bulging Disks in the Neck?


Quick Answer

Symptoms of a cervical bulging disc include pain when moving the neck, radiating pain in the upper arms or forearms and deep pain near the shoulder blade, according to All About Back & Neck Pain. Treatment options include pain medications, physical therapy and surgery.

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Full Answer

Although a cervical bulging disc sometimes causes no pain, individuals may experience symptoms if the disc bulges from the vertebrae and compresses a nerve, as stated by All About Back & Neck Pain. Other symptoms of a bulging disc include numbness and muscle weakness. Symptoms may progressively worsen over time or when the individual performs certain activities.

Many cases of cervical bulging discs can be managed with conservative treatment options, and symptoms may resolve within several weeks or several months, as confirmed by All About Back & Neck Pain. If surgery is needed, the patient's doctor may recommend a laminotomy or a discectomy. While the former involves making an opening in the lamina, the latter consists of complete removal of the bulging disc to decompress the spinal cord. Many doctors avoid performing discectomies because of the risk of nerve problems. If the spine becomes unstable due to the removal of large pieces of bone or disc, the surgeon may need to fuse the bones using a bone graft.

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