Spine Association for Education

Cervical Disc Disease

Condition Overview

By age 40, about 60% of us have already developed some form of degenerative disc disease (DDD). Our spines, after enduring several decades of twisting, turning, and the occasional trauma, often reflect this wear and tear by manifesting symptoms that are, quite literally, “a pain in the neck.” The primary reason for this is, as we age, the natural disc “shock absorbers” that separate and cushion the seven bones in our neck, called cervical vertebrae, can become damaged or begin to wear out. This, in turn, can irritate or pinch surrounding spinal column nerve roots—resulting in Cervical Disc Disease.

Common Symptoms

Cervical Disc Disease can initially present itself as something as simple as a neck that’s occasionally stiff or sore. It can then evolve into a radiating pain, numbness, and/or weakness in the shoulders and/or arms that can sometimes even extend to the hands. As the disease progresses, it can result in loss of reflex or motor function.

Methods of Diagnosis

A basic physical or neurological exam and imaging tests, such as X-rays or MRI and CT scans, are typically used to diagnose Cervical Disc Disease.

Methods of Treatment

Usually, Cervical Disc Disease can be effectively treated with a regimen of regular exercise and over-the-counter medications. In more severe cases, physical therapy and steroid medications are used in combination. Surgery is rarely needed. However, in those instances when it is, there are now a number of effective, minimally invasive procedures worth considering.


PLEASE NOTE: Because the content of this website is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor, S.A.F.E. disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based upon the information presented herein.

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