Depending on the severity of the cervical disk herniation, there are a few treatment options that doctors can recommend, including modifying the patient's activity level, taking over-the-counter medications, steroids, physical therapy and surgery, states Mayfield Clinic. The initial treatments are conservative methods, such as limiting any strenuous activity that places stress on the neck region, getting bed rest and taking different pain relievers, muscle relaxants and other medications for inflammation at the herniation site.
Traction may also be another treatment option for this condition, states WebMD. When these options do not address the symptoms, doctors can prescribe muscle relaxants, steroid for oral use and steroid injections at the herniation site. The common symptoms of a herniated cervical disk are pain that starts in the neck regions and moves down to the shoulders, arms and hands, arm tingling and muscle spasms, states Mayfield Clinic.
The cause of a herniated cervical disk is disk degeneration that results either from aging or an injury. Disk degeneration occurs when the gel-like material, which is found in disks, bulges through either a weak area of the disk or through a tear. When disk fragments or this material press against nerves, it causes pain and the other symptoms of disk herniation.
In many cases, patients see relieve of symptoms within 4 to 6 weeks with these conservative treatments. However, in other patients, these various treatments may not resolve the problem. When this occurs, doctors can suggest surgical procedures that include posterior cervical discectomy and anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. With both surgical procedures, doctors remove the portion of the disk or fragment that was pressing against spinal nerves, but the surgical incisions are at different locations.