Many people present with neck and arm pain and the most likely cause is due to disc damage at the bottom of the neck.
Spinal discs are tough elastic pads that act as shock absorbers for the vertebrae. They cushion the vertebrae and allow the spine to twist and bend. Each disc has a tough, fibrous outer wall called the Annulus and a soft inner nucleus named the Nucleus.
A herniated disc can be caused by the normal wear and tear of ageing, or it can be caused by a traumatic injury to the spine. Typically, small cracks or tears form in the disc’s outer wall, resulting in a weak spot. These cracks often occur when someone has poor posture or works on a computer with poor posture.
A herniation occurs when the disc’s nucleus pushes through the weakened disc wall. The bulging disc material can push into the spinal canal, pressing against the spinal cord and nerve roots.
A herniated cervical disc can cause painful burning, tingling or numbing sensations in the neck, shoulders, arms and hands. It may also cause muscle weakness.
Treatment first centres on managing the persons pain combined with physical therapy. This may include using a soft collar, having cervical distraction, and mobilisation of the spine and neck in conjunction with pain relief medications.
If those options are not successful over a period of approximately 3 months, then surgery may be needed to remove the bulging portion of the disc.