Cervical Disc Herniation

Cervical discs are gel-filled cushions that function as shock absorbers between
the bony vertebrae. Wear-and-tear changes to the discs can lead to bulging or rupture (herniation). Disc bulges can be found in most adults and usually cause no pain. However, significant disc herniations can compress the cervical nerves or the spinal cord, causing arm pain, numbness, tingling and/or weakness (cervical radiculopathy or cervical myelopathy).


Cervical disc herniations are usually caused by age-related degeneration of the discs. Genetic predisposition and smoking increase the risk of developing pain from cervical disc herniations.

SymptomsX-ray of a spine with a red arrow pointing to an area that has a bulged cervical disc.

  • Neck and/or shoulder pain
  • Neck stiffness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Shooting arm pain, numbness, tingling and/or weakness


Neck pain from cervical disc herniation is usually treated by over-the-counter pain medications and physical therapy.

Schedule an Appointment

Please call 984-974-6800 to schedule an imaging appointment at the UNC Hospitals Imaging Center or 984-974-4200 to schedule a clinic appointment at the UNC Hospitals Spine Center.  Referrals are not necessary

Fax: 984-974-6740

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