To confirm cervical discopathy you need to visit a doctor (orthopaedist), who will order imaging tests. Only these types of test can create a reliable picture of the affliction cause, and spine condition. The doctor can order the following tests: X-Ray – You can observe the decrease in distance between vertebrae when inflammation has already happened. It is not the most detailed image. Cat Scan and MRI Scan. These tests can tell us the most about the condition of the spine. They are showing the earliest and smallest changes in vertebrae, and between them. After the tests, the doctor studies the image results and diagnoses your condition. If cervical discopathy is confirmed, there are several treatment options available. If the changes are not advanced, conservative and preventative treatment is applied. Pharmacological treatment – to relieve patients in pain, the doctor can prescribe 2 kinds of medicine. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain killers (paracetamol, diclofenac, ketoprofen, or a newer generation of medicine such as celecoxib or rofecoxib), and muscle relaxers (tetrazepan or tolperisone).

 

Immobilization It is possible to immobilize the cervical curve using an orthopaedic collar. It is the doctor’s decision, and it should not be fitted alone. Another possibility during the sharp phase of pain is to rest in a lying position recommended by a physiotherapist (positioning therapy using a three-bend position with hip and knee joints). Sleeping is recommended using a pillow which will support the spine in the cervical curve, and will secure its physiological positioning. As an additional treatment, hot compresses can be applied (such as a hot water bottle, or pillow with cherry-stones). Kinetic Therapy When pain has disappeared, it is possible to mobilize patients with cervical discopathy. Since most symptoms are a result of overburdening caused by a lack of movement, incorrect sitting position, or improper posture causing excessive muscle tension, relaxing and strengthening muscles will help to relieve the pain and avoid pain reoccurrence. Additionally, good rehabilitation supervised by a physiotherapist will increase the awareness of which positions
should be avoided.

Physiotherapy uses physical stimulants to decrease pain, muscle tension, and to limit inflammation. In cases involving discopathy, physiotherapists or doctors can order:
  • laser treatment
  • magnetic and electromagnetic fields
  • sollux and Biotron lamps
  • ultrasounds
  • cryotherapy
  • hot compresses
  • Iontophoresis

Surgery

A small percentage of cervical discopathy cases require surgery. If your case turns out to be serious enough to undergo surgery, it will be performed by a neurosurgeon. The most common method is fenestration – disc removal. The surgeon makes a 1-3cm long incision at the disc level, and after retracting the muscles cuts out small squares (windows) from the rear surface of vertebrae, and removes the discs.

How to protect the cervical spine

The prevention of cervical discopathy is similar to prevention regarding the whole spine. Take care of work station ergonomics. When sitting at the desk, do not lean forward and do not push your head forwards. The screen should be placed at a level exactly in front of you at eye-level, so you do not need to twist your neck to look at it. When traveling, use a crescent pillow to support your head. Fasten your seatbelts, and use the headrests. Buy an orthopaedic corrective pillow which helps to support your neck. Never sleep in a sitting position. Do not hold your phone between your shoulder and ear while talking.