Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bulging Discs - C4 C5

A C4 C5 bulging disc could be a really stubborn health condition to correct. This article would discuss what a C4 C5 bulging disc is, what causes it, common symptoms associated with it, as well as the most common treatment options available for your condition.

In order to understand what a bulging disc is, we must first understand what a spinal disc is, how it's put together, and what it does.

The discs of the spine are special types of ligaments that are found between each set of vertebrae (bones of the spine). Their purpose is to hold the spine together, and to act as a cushion or shock absorber with movement.

Each disc of the spine is made up of a firm outer covering (called the annulus), and a jelly center (called the nucleus). They almost look like jelly doughnuts.

If something occurs to damage the annulus (the outer covering of the disc), the jelly could begin to shift to the weak area, which causes the disc to bulge. This is why this condition is referred to as a bulging disc. You may also hear it referred to as a herniated disc, slipped disc, etc.

What's interesting about the disc is that it doesn't have the ability to feel pain sensations. I realize this sounds a bit odd, but think about it - if the main purpose of the spinal discs is to absorb shock from movement, wouldn't it be wise if we didn't feel them? I do not know about you, but I am thankful I do not feel pain with every movement I make.

At this point, you are probably wondering why a C4 C5 bulging disc could be so painful if it doesn't feel pain. The reason is because of where the bulge usually occurs. The disc usually bulges at the back of the disc, which is right next to the spinal cord and nerves of the spine.

The nerves of the spine control everything in the body. If there is any pressure applied to them, they become really aggravated and could cause incredible pain.

Even more significant, though, is the disability that could occur because of the pressure on these nerves. For example, a C4 C5 bulging disc would affect the nerves that control the arms, hands, shoulders, neck, head, chest, eyes, ears, and many other parts of the body.

Because of this, it is really common for a person with this condition to experience other symptoms besides neck pain. Symptoms like pain, burning, weakness, or numbness in the shoulder, arm or hand, blurred vision, headaches, ringing in the ears, chest pain, difficulty breathing, etc.

The cause of a C4 C5 bulging disc is different for everyone, but in general, the most common cause is some type of injury or trauma. Car accidents, falls, sports injuries, etc. are all common causes of a bulging disc.

Although this might be the case for most, a bulging disc could also occur from deterioration that occurs in the disc over time. As we use our spine (which is pretty much all the time), the discs could deteriorate due to normal wear and tear. This creates a weakness in the outer layer of the disc, which could also lead to a bulging disc over time.

Let's discuss some of the most common treatment options available for healing a C4 C5 bulging disc. Most doctors would recommend medications (usually a combination of pain relievers and muscle relaxers), pain injections (like cortisone or epidurals), physical therapy, and surgery (as a last resort).

Although these treatments would frequently offer relief, it is significant to realize that they do not generally offer long-term results. This is because most of these treatments are designed to numb the involved nerves (which offers relief), but they do not actually address the cause of the problem, which is the injured disc.

I have actually found that a combination of treatments is most effective for this condition, and there are about 30 steps a person needs to take in order to assist the disc heal completely, which offers lasting relief.

Let's discuss just 3 things you could do at home right now to start the healing process.

First, I would recommend that you use ice on your neck if you are experiencing pain. Ice is usually the fastest way to experience relief, and although this sounds pretty simple, I cannot tell you the number of times I have had people tell me they use heat with this condition.

Heat is really one of the worst things you could do if you are experiencing pain, because the body is going through an inflammatory process, which is where the body would send blood to the injured area to try and fix it. This would cause swelling and excessive heat in the area, so what do you think would happen if you apply heat to it? That's right - it would acquire more inflamed and aggravated.

Apply the ice over the middle of the back of your neck for 15 minutes or until the area becomes numb. Then repeat this every hour. If you do this consistently, you should start to notice some improvement in the pain levels within 3 to 4 treatments, and it should calm down considerably in about 3 days.

The second tip I would recommend is that you watch the way you are sleeping. be sure you are only using one pillow, and that you are not sleeping on your stomach. Sleeping with extra pillows under your head would cause the neck to bend excessively which puts a lot of strain on the discs of the neck. Sleeping on your stomach forces you to turn your head to the side, and this excessive rotation could also be hard on the disc.

Finally, I would recommend that you bounce on a therapy ball. Therapy balls are those large balls you see at health clubs. Simply sit on the ball and bounce gently up and down for about 5 minutes every day. This would pump the discs of the spine (even in the neck), which pumps new oxygen and nutrition into the disc for faster healing.

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