C6 C7 Disc Herniated

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.

Comments 29
  1. This is the first article that I have come across that explains exactly what my problem is and why it's so hard to treat. I feel like my doctors are giving me the generic treatment options for any herniated disc – not just the C6 and C7. I actually don't think my doctor believes that I am in pain and he keeps telling me I'm out of treatment options. I have had epidurals, physical therapy, massage therapy, and gone to a chiropractor. Nothing is working! I have another epidural scheduled and I'm starting physical therapy again. I feel like I live at the doctor's office. After reading this article I 'm going to try the ice and therapy ball… I'll see what happens, it can't hurt! Thanks for the info!

    1. OMG just read your comment… I had a work accident in May 2017…injury results from accident c6 c7 herniated discs. In the beginning the pain was almost unbearable. Saw a neurosurgeon and was told I should not be in pain, did not know why I was in pain and point blank told me the pain was all in my head. My moral plummeted. I cried for almost a month every day thinking that I was going to have to live with the pain for the rest of my life. I am now taking Lyrica and thru physio, accu and osteo and not pushing myself too much the pain is now tolerable. I am also now going to try the ice and therapy ball.

  2. I have this condition and was contemplating surgery… Now I know ice will help relieve the pain. Thank you!

  3. It was a relief to read this article as I haven't been able to find an explanation for my months of pain in the back rib area. It starts in the early hours of the morning. I have also been extremely frustrated with sweating especially towards evening and even when sitting in front of the fan! The recent MRI showed C6C7 degeneration and herniated disc. Thank you for your article!

  4. I had a 10 mm rupture of the C6-C7 disc and had to either have fusion or artificial disc replacement surgery. I opted for the artificial disc a year and a half ago, but now am having strange symptoms that seem to be thyroid related. Excessive sweating when I'm cold, heat intolerance, tremors (usually fine shaking), nervousness; agitation, rapid heart rate (resting 90+), weight loss (15 lbs in a month, from 129 to 114), extreme fatigue, irregular menstrual cycles, decrease in sex drive. I'm wondering if the surgery could have caused a problem. I've never read about the storing of oxygen, etc., so I am also wondering if that may play a part?

  5. Thank you. I am seeing a neurologist to talk about my recent MRI for, what I believe, is a c6c7 disk problem, and you have forearmed me with very helpful knowledge.

  6. Interesting! I always knew I would have issues with the obvious areas near the neck but I am amazed that I can now explain away my few and less annoying issues with the lungs and heart area. Those areas have minor and infrequent issues so I just ignored and thought oh well. In addition, I always have wondered about my bouts with sweating. It makes sense. At any time when I am putting extra stress on that area of my neck, I will be sweating, sometimes profusely. I have been wearing sleeveless dress shirts in the winter and people always make comments. This has helped a lot and I will be using ice more frequently.

  7. I have been suffering in pain for over a year. I'm going to try the ice… question will the c6-c7 cause my headaches and dizziness?

  8. This is the first time anyone has explained my pain. I have a bulging c6 -7 disc and after doing chores around the house or yard work the neck pain is bad but it also feels like something is pushing from the inside out toward my lungs and upper chest. My throat feels like it's swelling and I feel the need to cough. Also get a headache that extends up the back of my neck to my jaws and ears. I feel your article helps to explain these feelings, as you state that the nerves being affected control these areas. Thank you, I am going to try ice more often now and get a therapy ball.

  9. Thank you! I have learned more reading this article than I have from doctors and pain clinic specialists!!! I have excessive sweating and was told it was my meds. I stopped taking them because of this and still sweated. Now I know why!! I also didn't realise there was only a 16% chance of surgical success. They kept that quiet!! I am having acupuncture next week and then I will try everything suggested on here. Thank you again.

  10. This article was helpful certainly in dispelling the myth that surgery would help this situation. I will use the ice process mentioned and review how I am sleeping.

  11. First article I've seen that actually seems to be written from experience and not a cut-n-paste job from the wider internet. As a recent sufferer from C6/C7 herniation I can add the following from my experience:

    It will hurt like an unleashed demon at first but generally it will get noticeably better after a week or so. What's really annoying is that you will feel like there is no body position that offers relief. All-night sleep just does not happen.

    My herniation is on the left side so I can just about sleep on my right side which requires two pillows to raise my head to the level position.

    Ibuprofen doesn't work. Paracetamol+Codeine seems to help you get off to sleep at night but you'll still wake up after a few hours.

    Watch out for relapse during recovery. Be *very* careful how you get up and move about first thing in the morning. I was getting much better after 21 days until I had a relapse and I'm kicking myself for allowing myself to stretch out when I woke up.

    See a physio. Push for an MRI scan so your physio can target his treatment effectively. If you can self-fund then many countries offer walk-in scans for a better price than they charge out to the insurance companies. Google it.

  12. I just had c7/c6surgery 2 days ago. This article was a great find and I'm glad it is out here. The surgery I had includes a bone graft and is incredibly invasive and painful. But so far it has fixed the primary issues with my arm while making swallowing and overall movement difficult (I expect this to heal over time as the surgery just happened.) the ice pack was given to me immediately after surgery by an occupational therapist and it really does help.

  13. Very good article. I have had 2 disc fusion surgeries and am possibly going to have a third. Been through multiple injections and pt that never ends. The ice pack is my constant companion. A tip from me, if you don't find that your doctor or surgeon is hearing you, get a second opinion. I wish I would have done that and saved myself a year of agony.

  14. I would like the rate the article five (5) but, I haven't tried any of the suggested remedies yet. I will rate the article after trying the mentioned remedies.

  15. Thank you. I finally understand what's happening with my c6 and c7 discs as they are both herniated. I will be using your suggestions to help.

  16. Had C4-5 fusion, he said C6 looked worse but not so symptomatic. Now I understand why he didn't fuse all 3.

  17. Thanks for your article. May I know if the Wing Chi Machine to create oxy for C6 & C7, Also the neck traction device help my neck. I don’t want to give my neck on surgery. Tks much.

  18. I was just diagnosed with herniated discs in my c4 c5 c6 and c7 also with a disc tear in my c6 c7 and multilevel degeneration. I’m 37 and have never been in an accident, had an injury or a fall. I’ve spent the last year having flare ups of horrendous headaches at the base of my head, dizzy, chest pains, numbness and pins and needles down my left arm and hand. The past month I have had a flare up of the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my back just past my shoulder blade. I can’t sleep, move, drive, lift anything; I’ve lost strength in my hand and arm. I’ve been put on nerve pills, muscle relaxants, starting physio and acupuncture. This has been pure hell and I’m terrified of what’s to come.

  19. Thank you for this information. I had ACDF C3-C6 a few years back. The fusion came out fine. Long story short. The MRI and CT scan are showing issues at C6-7. I am getting the same pain mentioned in your article. The PT did not work. The doctor wanted to give me the shot, but I could do it. the Tylenol worked for a few days. Last night a could hardly sleep on my sleep apnea. The pain in the neck was terrible. If I yarn too hard, it hurts. If I moved differently, it would hurt. I finally got up and sat in my chair with a pillow against my neck to get comfort. I went to get something to drink, and as I lifted the cup to my mouth, my arms got weak, and I put my arm down to keep from dropping the cup. My wrist hurt so bad at times. The numbness is on the left hand and right, down the legs as well, on the butte. I can barely put my arm on the back of my neck. My lower back hurts after a few minutes of just picking up the trash can. I will see my doctor soon. I am trying your ice right now. Again thank you because you have described all of my symptoms.

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