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» Cervical Disc Herniation, Part 1: Stages and Symptoms
Cervical Disc Herniation, Part 1: Stages and Symptoms

Herniated cervical disc, more commonly called, “Ruptured Disc” is a condition when one of the vertebrae in the neck, called a cervical disc becomes damaged or ruptured, causing pain in the neck or between the shoulders.

This week, we start an examination into cervical disc herniation, which compresses nerves of the neck, causing pain and other symptoms.


Stages of a Cervical Herniated Disc:

There are four recognized stages of cervical disc herniation. These include:

  1. Disc Degeneration - Chemical changes associated with aging cause intervertebral discs to weaken, but without a herniation.  This is part of the aging process discussed above, and it can cause the disc to dry out, making it less able to absorb the shock from your movements.  It can also become thinner in this stage.

  2. Prolapse - The form or position of the disc changes with some slight impingement into the spinal canal or spinal nerves. This stage is also called a bulging disc or protruding disc.

  3. Extrusion - The gel-like nucleus pulposus (inner part of the intervertebral disc) breaks through the tire-like wall (annulus fibrosus) but remains within the disc

  4. Sequestration - The nucleus pulposus breaks through the annulus fibrosus and can move outside the interverterbral disc and into the spinal canal.



Symptoms for cervical disc herniation can vary somewhat from person to person; however, there are certain common symptoms that are typical for all patients. These include:

  • Pain in the neck or upper back, sometimes radiating into the arm and into the fingertips

  • Numbness and tingling

  • Muscle spasms

  • Muscle weakness


Next time, we will explore the risk factors for Cervical Herniated Disc and non-surgical treatments.


If you are experiencing neck pain, don’t wait for your family physician; visit Excel Rehabilitation Services on
Burnside Ave. in Gonzales, Louisiana. You will receive one-on-one care from an experienced physical therapist!


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