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Chiropractic Care for Cervical Herniated Discs

Published Date: 
February 24, 2023
A woman is suffering from a herniated disc in her neck.

Chiropractic care for a herniated disc in your neck can alleviate pain, numbness, and other symptoms caused by this condition.

Chiropractic care is an appropriate herniated disc treatment option for the neck. This is because chiropractic care focuses on restoring proper movement and alignment of the spine, which can help to relieve pressure on the spinal nerves that may be causing pain or other symptoms associated with a herniated disc.

Other benefits of chiropractic care for a herniated intervertebral disc in the neck include reducing inflammation, improving nerve function, and promoting healing. If you are experiencing symptoms of a herniated disc in your neck, speak to your doctor about whether chiropractic care might be right for you.

A herniated cervical disc occurs when the soft inner material bulges out through a weakened area in the disc's outer layer. The condition is commonly referred to as a slipped or ruptured disc, although “rupture” is not a medically accurate term.

A herniated cervical disc can result from normal wear and tear over time or develop suddenly due to trauma such as an injury or fall. Sometimes, the condition may be caused by a bone spur (a small projection that forms on the bone) that compresses the disc.

Most people with a herniated cervical disc experience neck pain, which typically ranges from mild to moderate. In some cases, the pain may radiate into one or both shoulders and arms. Some people also experience tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness in the affected area.

Common symptoms of a herniated disc in the neck can include the following:

  • Pain or discomfort in the neck, shoulders, and arms
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms and hands
  • Weakness in the arms or hands

Understanding Cervical Herniated Discs

A cervical herniated disc is a condition where the soft, gelatinous material inside your spinal cord, called the nucleus pulposus, leaks out of its surrounding structure. This material can irritate nearby nerves and cause pain or other symptoms in your neck. A herniated disc can also put pressure on your spinal cord or surrounding nerves and cause weakness or loss of feeling or movement.

Cervical herniated discs usually occur due to age-related degeneration of the spine, which can lead to disc thinning and cracks in the outer protective layers around your spinal cord. This condition can also be caused by heavy lifting, incorrect posture while sitting or standing, smoking, or other activities that can harm your spine.

What Does a Cervical Herniated Disc Feel Like?

A cervicogenic herniated disc (also known as a cervical disc herniation) is when one of the discs in your spine – located between each vertebra – experiences pressure and bulges out from its normal position. The symptoms of a herniated disc can vary depending on which part of your spine is affected, but you may experience the following: 

  • Sharp pain
  • Numbness
  • Tingling and/or a burning sensation

What Causes a Herniated Disc in the Neck?

A herniated disc in the neck can be caused by many different factors, including:

  • Herniation that occurs due to an injury or trauma. This can include things like car accidents, falls, and sporting injuries.
  • Degenerative disc disease in the neck as a person gets older. This is when the discs in our spine break down over time and lose their cushioning effect on the vertebrae.
  • Overuse of the neck muscles and tendons due to repetitive movements. This is often seen in people who do a lot of heavy lifting or manual labor, or play sports that involve a lot of quick motions.
A young man is in pain because of a herniated disc in his neck.

How Chiropractors Treat Herniated Cervical Disc Pain and Symptoms

When the spine's discs are not functioning correctly and begin to bulge, herniate, or rupture, this can cause pain. Herniated cervical disc pain is a common condition among many people and is often caused by an injury or work-related activity that stresses the neck. Chiropractic medicine focuses on natural healing and treats many conditions that are often treated with drugs and surgery. A chiropractor can help to relieve herniated disc pain, symptoms, and other neck problems.

A chiropractor focuses on how the spinal column is aligned to determine where the problem originates. If a misalignment or blockage exists, your chiropractor can use spinal adjustments, massages, and other techniques to help relieve pressure on the discs. These methods will then help to resolve the underlying issue that caused the disc problem in the first place.


A chiropractor focuses on how the spinal column is aligned to determine where the problem originates. If a misalignment or blockage exists, your chiropractor can use spinal adjustment, massages, and other techniques to help relieve pressure on the discs. These methods will then help to resolve the underlying issue that caused the disc problem in the first place.

A young woman cannot sleep because of pain caused by a herniated disc in her neck.


How serious is cervical herniated disc?

A herniated disc in the cervical spine is a very serious condition, as it can cause severe pain and may even require surgery in more extreme cases. While this condition can be caused by trauma or age-related degeneration of the discs, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately if you experience any symptoms, such as numbness, tingling, weakness, or pain in your arms and legs. Left untreated, a cervical herniated disc can cause severe damage to the spine's nerves, leading to permanent nerve damage and even paralysis.

Will a herniated cervical disc heal itself?

A herniated cervical disc usually does not heal itself. Instead, the bulging or ruptured portion of the disc will continue to press against the spinal cord or nearby nerves, causing pain and other symptoms that may require treatment. Depending on your specific condition and other factors, various treatments may be recommended to help relieve your pain and restore function. These may include medication, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery.

Dr. Darren Faherty D.C.

In 2004, Dr. Darren Faherty graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology from UWEC - University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. Dr. Darren continued education at the highly esteemed University of Western States (formerly Western States Chiropractic College) where he obtained his chiropractic degree in 2007. He has been helping people recover from injuries and return to their normal lifestyles ever since.

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