Cervical Spine: Conditions & Treatments


Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative Disk Disease is simply the wear and tear of the intervertebral disc most commonly acquired genetically or due to repeated microtrauma to the neck or back. Degenerative disc disease most often leads to a broad constellation of symptoms including back and neck pain, shooting pain down the arms and legs, leg heaviness, difficulty walking and impaired hand dexterity.

Disc Herniation

Disk herniation, also known as a “ruptured” disk is a condition where the softer inner material of the intervertebral disk pushes through the tougher outer material into the spinal canal. A Disk herniation can occur spontaneously or can be caused by a traumatic event. A disk herniation in it of itself can cause significant back pain which in most cases self-resolves after several weeks. However when the disc touches or pushes on the nerve shooting pain down the legs (sciatica) or arms ensues and can be debilitating and require specialized attention

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis is a narrowing of the spaces within the spinal column, which can put pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine. Some people with Spinal Stenosis may have no symptoms, while others may experience pain, tingling, and muscle weakness. Symptoms may worsen over time as Stenosis is usually caused by wear and tear changes in the spine related to osteoarthritis.


Spondylolisthesis is a condition when a vertebra slips out of place relative to an adjacent vertebra. This condition most commonly occurs in the low back and as a result of degenerative disc disease, but can occur in the Cervical Spine. It can also be due to microtrauma events or an acute high energy trauma event. Spondylolisthesis is most often asymptomatic, however in some circumstances, it can lead to back (dynamically unstable degenerative spondylolisthesis), leg pain and heaviness with standing upright and walking (degenerative spondylolisthesis), and/or shooting pain down the legs or “sciatica” (isthmic spondylolisthesis).

Compression Fractures

Compression fractures or a “crush” fracture of the vertebral body causing it to lose its optimal height. Such injuries most commonly occur in the elderly due to weakened bones or osteoporosis. People with this injury often report sharp pain localized in the mid or low back especially with activity. The mainstay of treatment is non-surgical with pain medications, medications to strengthen the bone, and physical therapy, however, when this fails there are minimally invasive techniques to help alleviate the symptoms.

Cervical Deformity

Deformity of the cervical spine typically results in an abnormal position of the head relative to the chest and shoulders. While this is usually cosmetically bothersome to a person, cervical deformity also can result in difficulty swallowing and breathing, and can severely disrupt the person's ability to perform normal tasks.

Artificial Disc Replacement

A surgical procedure in which degenerated intervertebral discs in the spinal column are replaced with artificial devices. This is an alternative to a fusion and may help the patient keep a larger range of motion in the spine.

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