Cervical Disc Prolapse

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INJURY TITLE

Cervical Disc Prolapse ‘slipped disc in the neck’

 

INJURY OVERVIEW

Commonly called a ‘slipped disc’ no actual slipping of the disc occurs.  A prolapse includes displacement of the content of the disc. 

 

INJURY IN-DEPTH INFORMATION

There are two types of prolapse:

1)    When the content of the disc makes the outer edges of the disc stretch causing the disc to bulge.

2)    When the content of the disc escapes the outer edges of the disc causing it to rupture.

 

The discs in the neck are different to those in the rest of the spine so the second type of prolapse is rare.  Commonly the disc will bulge backwards into a space called the spinal canal.

 

COMMON SIGNS & SYMPTOMS

  • Severe pain in the neck, shoulder blade, down the arm.
  • Pain on neck movements especially taking the head backwards or towards the affected side.
  • Pain on maintained postures, eg: reading a book
  • Changes in sensation in the arm
  • Weakness in the arm can occur in mores severe cases

 

HOW IS IT ASSESSED

  • Clinical examination looking at movement problems, postural disturbances and history of the presentation.
  • Can be confirmed with MRI.

 

 

 

GENERAL TREATMENT

  • Pain relief medication
  • Relative rest from activities
  • As pain reduces, treatment can begin to include manual therapy to gently mobilise any stiff portions of the neck
  • Manual therapy to help reduce muscular pain
  • Postural education to help return to work and activity
  • In severe cases a corticosteroid injection (epidural) or surgical intervention may be required but most cases can be managed effectively without these.

 

Exercise Videos: i.e.

  • Rotator cuff strengthening
  • Pec stretch
  • etc

 

WHICH HEALTH PROFESSIONAL TO CONSULT

PHYSIO     X

MEDIC     X

PODIATRY     

Put an ‘X’ next to each health professional that most commonly deals with this injury.

i.e. tennis elbow would be Physio and Medic as injections are common, whereas for muscular LBP it would be Physio and not Medic as they would just refer them to a Physio.

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