Pain in your neck is bad enough,
It can get so much worse when it involves pain running down your arm.
Bulging discs, herniated discs and slipped discs (They’re all the same!) in your neck are the second most common after bulging discs in the lower back.While they only occur in a small percentage of the population they can cause excruciating pain.
The pain and possible weakness you experience always depend on the nerve which is affected by the disc bulge.
Which Nerve Root Causes Your Neck Bulging Disc Symptoms
Your neck also known as the ‘cervical spine’ contains 7 bones. In between each bone is a disc which absorbs and reduces stress and force that you put on it.
These bones are known as C1 – C7 (‘C’ standing for cervical spine)
When there is too much pressure on the disc it pushes against a specific nerve which gives you symptoms depending on the nerve that is compressed.
The most common disc bulge symptoms you’ll experience in your neck are:
This refers to the disc between cervical bones 5 and 6
A bulging disc in this area is the 2nd most common in the neck.
Pain: This is associated with pain running down the outside of your arm from your shoulder usually down into your thumb.
Weakness: You may experience weakness when trying to flex your arm by bending your elbow
Loss of Sensation: You may experience loss of sensation around the area of your thumb or the outside of your forearm.
This refers to the disc between cervical bones 6 and 7
A bulging disc in this area is the most common in the neck.
Pain: You will experience pain running down your arm from your shoulder usually into your 2nd or 3rd finger.
Weakness: You may notice you have some weakness when straightening your arm from a bent position
Loss of Sensation: You may experience loss of sensation around the tips of your 2nd and 3rd finger
While there are only 7 bones in the neck, there are 8 nerves.
C7/8 refers to the space between the 7th cervical bone and the 1st bone in the upper/mid back (thoracic spine)
When you experience a disc bulge in this area you may notice:
Pain: Sharp shooting pain in your 5th finger or the inside of your forearm
Weakness: When trying to fan your fingers out or make a fist (or shake hands)
Loss of Sensation: Around the area of your 5th finger or inside of your forearm.
The Symptoms You Experience Can Be Different To Anyone Else
While the distribution of your pain is usually in the area described above, you may still experience pain which doesn’t directly correlate with the nerve that is being compressed by the bulging disc.
Your body is different from anyone else’s and you may feel symptoms that nobody else does.
It’s for that reason you should visit a qualified health professional if you have any concerns about your symptoms and to get an accurate diagnosis.