A C6 C7 disc that is herniated can be one of the most painful and debilitating conditions a person could ever suffer with. This article will discuss what a C6 C7 herniated disc is, how it occurs, and 3 steps you can use for relief.
The spinal discs are a special type of ligament that not only hold the vertebrae of the spine together, but also act as cushions and shock-absorbers between each bone of the spine.
They are composed of 2 parts – a firm outer covering (called the annulus), and a jelly center (called the nucleus). I often refer to them as “jelly doughnuts” because of this structure. When a disc herniates, the “jelly” is essentially being pushed out of the doughnut.
What’s interesting about the discs of the spine is that they are designed to not feel pain (think about it – if they’re shock absorbers, wouldn’t it be a bad idea if they were designed to feel pain? You’d feel pain every time you moved if this were the case!).
So, why is a herniated disc so painful and problematic? Well, the area of the disc that usually herniates is actually right by the nerves of the spine, which control everything in the body. These nerves are very sensitive to pressure, so if a disc herniates and applies pressure to one of these nerves, it can be incredibly painful.
What’s even worse is that it’s not just pain you will experience – you will also experience problems with whatever the aggravated nerve is controlling.
Let me give you a very specific example, since this article is about a C6 C7 disc that is herniated. The C6 C7 disc is also referred to as the 6th Cervical disc. This disc is located in the lower part of the neck, near the top of the shoulders.
The nerve that would be affected by the C6 C7 disc controls the arms, the shoulders, the heart, the lungs, the thyroid gland, and many other things.
Because of this, if a C6 C7 disc herniates, it is very common that a person will not only experience neck pain, but you may also experience pain in the arms, weakness in the hands and arms, shoulder pain, chest pains, uncontrollable sweating, headaches, etc.
In fact, this condition is often misdiagnosed at first, because the symptoms aren’t always in the neck.
Let’s discuss the treatment options available for a C6 C7 herniated disc before we discuss the 3 tips I’ll be sharing with you to help alleviate your pain.
In most cases, the treatments your doctor recommends will be medications (usually a combination of muscle relaxers and pain killers), physical therapy, pain injections (such as cortisone or epidurals), and surgery (as a last resort).
Although these treatments will often provide relief, the result is usually very temporary. This is because they are all designed to do one thing – numb the painful nerve. These treatments do not actually heal the disc, which is why the pain inevitably returns for most people.
This begs the question – if these treatments don’t heal the disc, why use them? Well, the truth of the matter is that a C6 C7 herniated disc is one of the most difficult conditions to treat because of how the disc is made.
Remember we talked about the jelly inside the disc? Well, this jelly is very unique, because this is where the discs of the spine store the oxygen and nutrients they need in order to stay healthy. The reason they do this is because they don’t receive a lot of blood, which is the normal way our body receives oxygen and nutrients for healing.
This makes the disc very difficult to heal, simply because most medical treatments depend on the blood stream to transport the medication that is chosen for treatment. So, most of the treatments are designed to numb the nerve, which really doesn’t solve the problem.
Unfortunately, surgery is not a good option for this condition either (which is why most doctors will not recommend surgery unless they have tried everything else first). The success rate of C6 C7 herniated disc surgery is only 16%, so the odds are not in your favor.
So, what can you do about this? Well, I’m going to give you 3 tips you can use from the comfort of your home to not only alleviate the pain, but also get to the source of the problem and help the disc heal, rather than just numb the pain.
My first recommendation would be that you use ice over the C6 C7 disc. Using real ice rather than an artificial ice pack will provide better results. Place the ice at the base of your neck, and leave it there for 15 minutes, or until you feel numbness – whichever comes first.
The real key with ice is that you have to use it multiple times, and you have to be consistent to alleviate the pain. I recommend that you repeat the ice treatment every hour that you’re awake, and you should start to notice some relief after 3 or 4 treatments.
It usually takes about 3 days of using ice to notice considerable relief, so stick with it – this is usually the fastest way to relief.
My next piece of advice is to be careful with your sleeping position. I’m referring to a couple of things here – first of all, make sure you aren’t sleeping on more than 1 pillow. Elevating your head too high is a big problem with a C6 C7 herniated disc, because this position adds a lot of extra strain on the injured disc.
In addition to that, make sure you are not sleeping on your stomach. This also aggravates the injured disc, and you will dramatically slow your healing time. Always sleep on your back or sides.
My final piece of advice is to gently bounce on a therapy ball. These are the large balls you see people using at gyms – they usually use them to work on their abdominal muscles. Simply sit on the ball, keep your head looking straight ahead, and gently bounce up and down for about 5 minutes a day.
I know that sounds a bit odd, but remember when we were talking about the nutrients and oxygen inside of the jelly of the disc? Well, the only way to get more nutrients and oxygen into the disc for healing is to physically pump it. Bouncing on the therapy ball is a simple way to accomplish this.