While age may bring wisdom, it can also bring discomfort. A life’s worth of twisting, poor posture, or injury or takes its toll on your neck:
This deterioration is referred to as cervical disc degeneration, or cervical degenerative disc disease.
Healthy Cervical Disc
Cervical Disc Degeneration
Degenerative disc disease in the neck (the cervical spine) causes:
Your doctor will determine whether you have degenerative disc disease in the neck by:
If degenerative disc disease is present, the images will often show a narrowing of the spaces between your vertebrae, which indicates that one or more discs have thinned or collapsed. The x-rays may also show bone spurs. Sometimes disc deterioration and bone spurs can compress nerve roots.
Your pain and discomfort may be a natural part of aging or may result from injury. Regardless, you can do something about it. The treatment for cervical disc degeneration depends on the extent of the deterioration.
Nonsurgical treatments. If you do not have evidence of nerve root compression with muscle weakness, your doctor may recommend:
Surgical treatments. If rest, medication, and physical therapy don’t help or if tests show nerve root or spinal cord compression, your doctor may advise surgery to lessen pain, weakness, and tingling:
The best treatment for you depends on your unique situation. Discuss treatment options with your doctor. Need help finding a doctor who specializes in the cervical spine? Use our handy "Find a Specialist" tool.
Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.