Herniated Cervical Disc
The cervical spine discs are made of a tough outer layer called the “annulus fibrosus” and a gel-like center called the “nucleus pulposus.” As we age, the center of the disc may start to lose water content, making the disc less effective as a cushion. As a disc deteriorates, the outer layer can also tear. This can allow displacement of the disc’s center (called a herniated or ruptured disc) through a crack in the outer layer, into the space occupied by the nerves and spinal cord.
A herniated cervical disc can press on the nerves and cause pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the shoulders or arms.
Stenosis, or narrowing of the spinal canal, can occur in the lumbar and the cervical spine.
Cervical stenosis refers to pain in the neck where there is compression of the spinal cord. Symptoms of spinal cord stenosis can include leg pain (sciatica) that may be accompanied by low back pain, leg numbness and tingling, and limitations in walking.
Although occasionally leg pain and stenosis symptoms will come on acutely, they generally develop over the course of several years. The longer a patient with spinal stenosis stands or walks, the worse the leg pain will get.