Posted On: February 15, 2020
Imagine waking up with terrible neck pain which radiates down to the arm. The hand may tingle and you notice your arm isn’t as strong doing every day tasks like pushing open a door. These are typical symptoms of a cervical disc herniation.
Cervical disc herniations are not as common as lumbar disc herniations. Twenty five years ago the standard of care was to do some form of advanced imaging (CT or MRI), medication, epidurals and surgery. Fortunately a lot of physicians have recognized the utility of physical therapy in these cases.
In my experience most of these resolve with thoughtful physical therapy. There are exercises that move the pain out of the arm and centralize the pain to the neck. Teaching the patient about proper posture is useful. Manual traction in my practice has always helped. Mobilization or adjusting the upper thoracic spine has some evidence as to its effectiveness. As the pain abates at North Shore Spinal and Sports Rehabilitation we move the patient into spinal stabilization exercises.
This multimodal approach usually works, though occasionally an epidural injection may be required. Rarely does any patient ending up requiring surgery.
This is the opposite of what used to be done but I would submit that it is a far better option, given the risks and costs involved with surgery. Many of the patients we have rehabilitated have been able to resume high levels of exercise without ill effect.
North Shore, Dr. J and the staff were great. I started out with a pinched cervical nerve which was causing extreme pain and numbness in my arm. Surgery had been ruled out by the neurosurgeon after an MRI. My physical recommended a regimen of physical therapy which I undertook with NorthShore in November. At that time I had consistent pain in the range of 8-9 out of 10. I had trouble sleeping, driving and performing most normal daily activities due to the constant pain. I have now been through two series of physical therapy sessions with North Shore over a couple of months and the pain and numbness are completely gone. Based on my experience I would highly recommend North Shore for physical therapy treatment and the staff is extremely friendly and helpful as a bonus! Jon HeintzelmanJonathan Heintzelman
All aspects of the rehab program were done with professionalism. Intake evaluation, exercise program, massage therapy and exit evaluation were all excellent and yielded excellent results for me. All of the staff are friendly and efficient. Dr. Johnson, Jeannette, Cyprian and Mary are friendly and make an otherwise difficult experience much more tolerable. I have gone to them on two occasions over the last several years for different injuries and, in both instances, my problems were resolved. I highly recommend them.Lee Eddy
I was a patient 6 years ago, with lower back pain and herniation. My PT was excellent and I was back to exercise and resolution of pain and herniation. Recently I have had hip pain and and tingling down my leg. My evaluation with DR Johnson was very thorough and spot on. The PT with Dre was incredible. I am now pain free with a resolution of the tingling as well. I will definitely return for any future problems that may arise!Barbara Bank
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