Suffering from a neck hernia?

The official name for a neck hernia is cervical hernia. Hernia stands for rupture or bulging. A neck hernia involves a bulging intervertebral disc between two cervical vertebrae.


Various complaints can occur with a neck hernia: pain in the neck and shoulder area, headache and pain that radiates to the arm. Your arm may feel tingling or numb. It also happens that the arm or hand loses strength. The muscles can sometimes become paralyzed, in which case medical help must be sought immediately. But it may also be the case that there are no complaints at all with a neck hernia. There are even people who have a neck hernia without even knowing it.


There can be several causes for a neck hernia:

  • Wear and tear of the intervertebral discs due to age or overload of the intervertebral discs, which can cause bulging.
  • A nerve root can become pinched due to a bulge or if irritation or inflammation occurs at the bulge.
  • A neck hernia can also be hereditary.
  • A neck hernia is more common in people who do work where they often assume the same position for long periods of time. An example of this is dentists who often sit hunched over.


Determining neck hernia

After an interview and a physical examination, the GP can determine whether the complaints are related to a hernia. Various tests are done, the sense of touch is tested using a skewer, the arm reflexes and strength of the arm and hand muscles are also checked.
If the GP suspects that a nerve is being pinched by a neck hernia, the patient is referred to a specialist. An MRI or CT scan is used to further investigate the cause of the hernia.

What can help?

With a hernia, the complaints usually go away on their own, this is called a favorable natural course. You might think that resting and lying flat on the bed is the best solution, but the less rest the better. Of course you should take it easy, but stay as active as possible. Otherwise it will become increasingly difficult to become active again. This causes your muscles to become weaker and your fitness to deteriorate.
The doctor can prescribe painkillers or physiotherapy for the pain . In physiotherapy, the patient learns how to keep the muscles in good condition and advice is given on exercise therapy to make the muscles stronger. If this does not reduce the symptoms, hernia surgery may be considered.

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