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Cervical Disk Disease


Overview :

The spine is made up of 33 bones called vertebrae separated by spongy rings of elastic material. These rings, known as disks, are often compared to shock absorbers because they help to cushion the vertebrae. Just as importantly, they also make it possible to turn the head and neck. Over time, these disks slowly become flattened and less elastic due to everyday wear and tear. When this process occurs in the disks of the neck, it is referred to as cervical disk disease. Other general terms for this process include degenerative disk disease and intervertebral disk disease.

Cervical disk disease affects everyone to some degree, often without causing any bothersome symptoms. However, this condition can also lead to specific problems related to nerve functioning. For example, the outer edge of a disk may tear, allowing the gelatinous material inside to bulge outward (herniated disk). This can put pressure on nerves that exit the spine. Two adjacent vertebrae may rub together (sometimes resulting in bone spurs) that can also pinch these nerves. In other cases, the inner part of the ring may push on the spinal cord itself, which passes through the disk. Any of these situations can cause pain and limit movement. While symptoms primarily affect the neck, they can also occur in other parts of the body.




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