Information about conditions is provided as a service to our patients for educational purposes only. "If you understand your condition, you will be able to do the things necessary to rehabilitate much faster." Please feel free to print the information so that you can refer to it often. Sharing of information is quite risky, however. Do not presume that information is meant for you if you have not seen the doctor and received a specific diagnosis. Some conditions share similar symptoms but require very different treatment. If you have friends or family who may have similar symptoms, please schedule an appointment to see the doctor.

Cervical Disc Syndrome

Cervical Disc Compression Syndrome is primarily a tear in the disc tissue. This is generally caused by a breakdown of the normal

mechanical function of the neck and is characterized by the sharp, radiating pain in the neck, shoulder arm and/or hand. Pain in usually increased when coughing, sitting or bearing down and aggravated by stomach sleeping, hyperextension movements. The early stages of the condition involve the outer rings of the disc. Each episode of back pain involving the disc becomes progressive until the disc bulges and impinges on the nerves to the arm. With each untreated episode of neck pain, the tear in the outer fibers grow closer to the inner nucleus of fluid that can eventually protrude into the spinal canal and cause complete failure of the nerve roots. When advanced to this stage, the condition becomes a surgical concern as conservative treatments of physical therapy, manipulation and exercise-very effective early on, become less effective later. The condition is often seen in two forms, the disc alone as a singular lesion or what is referred to as the three joint complex wherein the disc and the posterior joints on each side have failed to function properly as well. This form is far more difficult to treat and becomes a surgical consideration if left unmanaged.

DISCUSSION: The cervical disc syndrome is common in today's population. The increasing amounts of time spent in front of the computer lend to increased dysfunction of the neck joints and allow for the early deterioration of the disc tissue. Proper sitting techniques and stress reduction help reduce the frequency and intensity of pain. This is usually the second or third step in the

progression of low back pain. If left untreated, this common problem gives rise to surgical intervention. When treated properly, the mechanical dysfunction is restored, the muscular components strengthened and the disc may be allowed to heal if left unaggravated. Proper healing may take up to 6 months while acute phase treatment is often effective within 2-3 months. Restored mobility of the spine, regular exercise and modification of aggravating life style habits are all necessary for restoration.

TREATMENT Treatment of the cervical disc is best accomplished using spinal decompression. This can now be done without surgery using a computerized traction apparatus. Treatment usually includes this traction, electrical stimulation, biofeedback stabilization exercises and then rehabilitation exercises. Complete recovery may take 6 months depending on patient compliance. In less advanced cases, manipulation and physical therapy have been shown to be successful in providing temporary relief of the symptoms.

Treatment frequency is usually daily for 3-7 days and then three times a week for 3-6 weeks. After that, realignment of the vertebra must be performed to prevent eventual return of this condition. It can be accomplished in 30-60 days of reduced frequency management. Often once a week treatment is sufficient at that point to restore alignment. Thereafter, this condition can be reasonably avoided with monthly correction of spinal alignment.

After the first few days of treatment, you will be given a sheet of stretching exercises to do at home. This is to help reduce the treatment time and speed healing. It is very important for you to do these daily as prescribed. If you have any questions about them or difficulty or pain on performing them, please tell the doctor right away.

Several days following the initiation of treatment, more aggressive exercise routines will be proscribed for you. You will be taken to the rehabilitation center and instructed on how to use the computer monitored exercise routines specifically designed for this condition. The routines are monitored for completion and graduated in difficulty after certain numbers of routines have been completed. You will be expected to perform these routines after treatment during the initial part of the restorative phase and throughout the rehabilitative phase of your treatment. Our goal is to help you get well and stay well. We know from experience that most mechanical conditions return gradually over a period of months and become more advanced each time. The only way this can be prevented is with exercise. We expect you to be successful.

We offer treatment of these conditions at various levels for all patients. We expect that you will follow this treatment plan through to its logical conclusion of restoration of complete function and rehabilitation. Our management system is designed to help you remember all of your appointments and to be fully compliant with all of our recommendations. At any time, should you decide to discontinue the process, please just let us know so that we don't become a bother.

LIFE STYLE CHANGES: Long periods of stress should be avoided. Do not sleep or lie on your stomach and avoid activities that hyper extend the neck. Water intake should be increased substantially.

SUPPLEMENTATION: Glucoseamine Sulphate and Trace Minerals: These supplements have proven effective in long-term prevention of deterioration of joint tissues and the disc. This may help reduce the mechanical breakdown associated with three joint complex problems.

HOME REMEDIES AND RECOMMENDATIONS: Utilize ice packs on the neck back for 10 minutes at a time and moist heat packs on the muscles of the upper back at 20 minutes at a time, not simultaneously and not more often than once per hour. This should continue until the arm pain or numbness disappears. Hot tubs provide buoyancy and may be used after 5 days of onset for temporary relief. Exercises should be specific and in a particular order and performed only under direct supervision of the doctor during the first 3 weeks and then by proscription only. Improper exercise can prolong or arrest recovery.

MAINTENANCE: Regular spinal adjustments are important to reduce the symptoms of cervical disc syndrome. Patients who receive monthly spinal manipulation and therapy report fewer complications with cervical disc syndrome. It is important that you follow your chiropractic physician's advice about the frequency of treatment for your particular condition.

Expectations We understand that you have come here for help. We have spent many years learning the best ways to solve the problems of mechanical back and neck pain. We expect you to comply with our recommendations and follow our treatment schedule completely regardless of the treatment plan you have. We expect you to set all of the recommended appointments at times convenient for you and we expect you to keep all of them. We expect you to respond favorably and know that your 100% compliance is the determining factor. We also expect you to attend our next class on Absolute Spinal Health. The staff can give you a schedule of the next class.

Other Information At our class on Absolute Spinal Health, we discuss mechanical conditions of the back, neck and spine and teach you ways to prevent mechanical conditions from occurring. We also offer a wide variety of health information at our web site. All patients are welcome to use our information to improve your life and maintenance your spinal health.

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