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HomeAnswersSpine Surgerycervical disc herniationIs arm numbness a symptom of cervical disc bulge?

Can cervical disc bulge lead to arm numbness?

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The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At April 7, 2016
Reviewed AtJune 20, 2023

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

My right arm is numb from the elbow to the wrist and sometime I feel like getting electric shock inside. About 29 years ago, I got my C4/C5 lower disc removed. I have neck and back pain too and for which I am taking Lyrica now. I had an MRI and the report is as follows. Tight cervical spinal canal at C5/C6 disc level and posterior disc herniation seen indenting the ventral aspect of the cord. In C3/C4, C4/C5 and C6/C7 mild diffuse posterior disc bulges seen. Please guide me.

Hi,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

From your complaints it is clear that you are suffering from prolapsed intervertebral disc in cervical region. The prolapsed disc is compressing your spinal nerve roots of arm. I request you to kindly attach MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) images. Most likely it appears from your symptoms that you will need surgical decompression but nothing can be conclusively said without MRI images. Please mention your diabetic and cardiac profile too.

The Probable causes

Degenerative changes.

Treatment plan

Surgical decompression.

Preventive measures

Avoid lifting weight and use cervical collar.

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

I have attached the MRI photos and blood work. Thanks.

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com. Thank you for providing images (attachment removed to protect patient identity). Your MRI shows that the disc which had prolapsed is causing compression on your nerve roots. No need to worry. We have few modalities of treatment at our disposal. First, I would like to know few things from you, do you have any weakness or loss of power in your arm? Did you feel any difficulty in holding a pen or a spoon? And have you undergone any conservative treatment? Conservative treatment includes cervical traction, physiotherapy, short wave diathermy, cervical collar, analgesics and muscle relaxants. I would like to give you a course of two weeks of conservative treatment and observe your response. Even if there is 10 percent relief, I will continue with the same treatment. Surgical treatment is the last resort if all the above treatment fails. I have many patients who had similar complaints and have improved with conservative treatment. Your blood reports are within normal limits so even if you need surgery you can proceed. Surgical procedure involves removing disc and it has excellent prognosis. Recent trends are towards keyhole surgery with minimal incision.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Jakkal Piyush Pandharinath
Dr. Jakkal Piyush Pandharinath

Orthopedician and Traumatology

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