Three long-term effects of untreated herniated neck discs

Herniated Neck Disc

The neck is made up of seven vertebrae, and each of these vertebrae has a disc between it and its neighbor. A disc has a rubbery outer shell and a gel-like inner layer. Weak spots or tears in the disc’s outer shell can allow the inner layer to poke out or herniate, and it’s this that gives the condition its name. Prompt treatment can help patients recover from herniated discs. However, allowing a herniated neck disc to go untreated can have three negative long-term effects.

1.   Chronic pain

One long-term effect an untreated herniated disc in the neck can have is causing chronic pain. A herniated disc tends to rub against spinal nerves in the neck, and this can irritate the nerve and lead to shooting pains. These pains are most commonly felt in the neck, shoulder and arm. If this condition is left untreated, the pain is likely to continue for so long that it becomes chronic. To medical professionals, this means that the patient has had their pain for more than 12 weeks.

2.   Headaches

Headaches are another long-term effect a herniated neck disc can have if it’s not treated. These headaches are caused by a structure called the cervical plexus, which is a group of nerves that run from the neck into the head. The cervical plexus can transmit pain from nerves irritated by the herniated neck disc into your head. In turn, this can make you feel like you have a headache even though there’s nothing wrong with your head, and these headaches can happen more frequently over time if the herniated disc isn’t treated.

3.   Decreased ability to perform normal tasks

A third long-term effect an untreated herniated neck disc can have is decreasing your ability to do normal tasks. An example is that people with this issue may have increasing difficulty typing; this condition can also make it harder to lift objects. This is because the nerve issues that a herniated neck disc can cause can lead to weakness in the hand and arms.

Whatcom Physical Therapy can help reduce the chances of long-term effects from herniated neck discs

People who have developed a herniated neck disc can find help at Whatcom Physical Therapy. In fact, getting help from our team can help decrease your risk of developing long-term effects from this injury. To help you treat this issue, our team will build you a personalized treatment program. This program will contain multiple beneficial therapy methods, and some of the methods we might include in your plan are:

Don’t wait any longer to start getting our help with your herniated neck disc. Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.