What is Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease?

CERVICAL DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE

What is degenerative disc disease (DDD)of the cervical spine? There are many causes such as cervical spinal stenosis, cervical disc herniation, spondylosis, and many other reasons. CSC treats these conditions frequently.

Degenerative disease of the cervical spine happens when there is a breakdown of the normal architecture of the various parts of the cervical spine.

Normally, the neck is very flexible. As you may demonstrate on yourself, the neck allows the head to rotate from side to side nearly 180°, to flex forward to touch your chin to your chest, and extend backwards to almost touch the back of the head to your upper back, as well as bend your head toward your shoulder (and all ranges in between these basic motions). These motions are afforded by the various joints of the cervical spine. When these joints and bone begin to degenerate, it causes pain in a variety of ways.

NON-SURGICAL CONSERVATIVE TREATMENTS

BACK AND NECK BRACES

If you are diagnosed with a spinal disorder, deformity, or potential problem that can by helped through the use of external structural support, your physician may recommend the use of a back or neck brace. Braces offer a safe, non-invasive way to prevent future problems or to help you heal from a current condition.

BODY BRACES

Anterior Cervical Orthosis (ACO) body braces, Thoracolumbosacral Orthosis (TLSO) body braces, Lumbosacral Orthosis, Lumbar Corset, and Back Brace (LSO) options from Center for Spine Care.

MEDICATIONS

Medications may be prescribed for pain, inflammation and muscular discomfort related to neck or back problems.  The following information is general by design and is for educational purposes only. It is important to be evaluated and diagnosed by a health care provider before starting or stopping any medications.

PHYSICAL THERAPY

Hot packs, cold packs, ultrasound, iontophoresis, electrical stimulation, TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation), NMES (Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation), IF (Interferential Current).

PAIN MANAGEMENT TREATMENTS

ELECTRICAL STIMULATION

Neurostimulation is indicated as an aid for management of chronic, intractable pain of the neck, back, and limbs. Neurostimulation delivers precisely controlled, mild electrical impulses to the spinal cord or to a peripheral nerve.

INJECTIONS

In many cases of chronic back pain spinal injections may be used both to find out what is causing your pain and to treat your pain. Doctors refer to these two separate uses of spinal injections as diagnostic and therapeutic.

PSYCHOLOGY

View pain contributors and treatment options.

CERVICAL SPINE (NECK)

cervicalThe cervical spine is made up of the first seven vertebrae in the spine. It starts just below the skull and ends just above the thoracic spine. The cervical spine has a lordotic curve, a backward “C”-shape-just like the lumbar spine. The cervical spine is much more mobile than both of the other spinal regions. Think about all the directions and angles you can turn your neck.

Unlike the rest of the spine, there are special openings in each vertebra in the cervical spine for arteries (blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart). The arteries that run through these openings bring blood to the brain.

Two vertebrae in the cervical spine, the atlas and the axis, differ from the other vertebrae because they are designed specifically for rotation. These two vertebrae are the reason your neck can move in so many directions.

The atlas is the first cervical vertebra-the one that sits between the skull and the rest of the spine. The atlas does not have a vertebral body, but it does have a thick forward (anterior) arch and a thin back (posterior) arch with two prominent sideways masses.

The atlas sits on top of the second cervical vertebra, the axis. The axis has a bony knob called the odontoid process, which sticks up through the hole in the atlas. Special ligaments between the atlas and the axis allow for a great deal of rotation. It is this special arrangement that allows the head to turn from side to side as far as it can.

The cervical spine is very flexible, but it is also very much at risk for injury from strong, sudden movements, such as whiplash-type injuries. This high risk of harm is due to the limited muscle support that exists in the cervical area, and the fact that this part of the spine has to support the weight of the head-an average of 15 pounds. This is a lot of weight for a small, thin set of bones and soft tissues to bear. Sudden, strong head movements can cause damage.


John Peloza, M.D., a pioneer in the development of true minimally-invasive spine treatments, founded the Center for Spine Care in 1996. An experienced industry leader, Dr. Peloza offers customized treatment plans to address a patient’s unique and specific source of back or neck pain, from conservative treatments to minimally invasive. If you have neck or back pain, call us at (877) 475-2240, or email us to see if our treatment options are right for you.

Stem Cell
Therapy

Center for Spine Care offers stem cell therapy as a conservative treatment to promote natural healing for back or neck pain. Utilizing mesenchymal stem cells, this new method is used to treat patients with neck and back pain caused from degenerative disc disease.