The cervical spine refers to the neck region of the spinal column consisting of seven bones (C1 to C7). It houses and protects the spinal cord, which is a tube-like tissue that carries nerve signals to and from the brain. The cervical spine also supports the head’s weight and allows it to move freely.
In between the stacked bones (vertebra) of the cervical spine are the cervical disks一a tough fibrocartilage that serves as a shock absorber and provides flexibility to the neck.
Like any other body part, the cervical disc can develop damage or wear and tear for various reasons. As it gradually degenerates, the cervical disc can break down or become too thin, thus narrowing the space between the vertebra. This can cause mild to severe pain, weakness, numbness, and loss of flexibility in the neck region.
Doctors treat degenerative disc diseases with conservative methods first. When this fails, they usually recommend patients undergo cervical disc replacement surgery.
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