C4 C5 Bulging Disc

A C4 C5 bulging disc can be a very stubborn health condition to correct. This article will discuss what a C4 C5 bulging disc is, what causes it, common symptoms associated with it, as well as the most common treatment options available for your condition.

In order to understand what a bulging disc is, we must first understand what a spinal disc is, how it’s put together, and what it does.

The discs of the spine are special types of ligaments that are found between each set of vertebrae (bones of the spine). Their purpose is to hold the spine together, and to act as a cushion or shock absorber with movement.

Each disc of the spine is made up of a firm outer covering (called the annulus), and a jelly center (called the nucleus). They almost look like jelly doughnuts.

If something occurs to damage the annulus (the outer covering of the disc), the jelly can begin to shift to the weak area, which causes the disc to bulge. This is why this condition is referred to as a bulging disc. You may also hear it referred to as a herniated disc, slipped disc, etc.

What’s interesting about the disc is that it doesn’t have the ability to feel pain sensations. I realize this sounds a bit odd, but think about it – if the main purpose of the spinal discs is to absorb shock from movement, wouldn’t it be wise if we didn’t feel them? I don’t know about you, but I’m thankful I don’t feel pain with every movement I make.

At this point, you’re probably wondering why a C4 C5 bulging disc can be so painful if it doesn’t feel pain. The reason is because of where the bulge usually occurs. The disc usually bulges at the back of the disc, which is right next to the spinal cord and nerves of the spine.

The nerves of the spine control everything in the body. If there is any pressure applied to them, they become very aggravated and can cause incredible pain.

Even more significant, though, is the disability that can occur because of the pressure on these nerves. For example, a C4 C5 bulging disc will affect the nerves that control the arms, hands, shoulders, neck, head, chest, eyes, ears, and many other parts of the body.

Because of this, it is very common for a person with this condition to experience other symptoms besides neck pain. Symptoms such as pain, burning, weakness, or numbness in the shoulder, arm or hand, blurred vision, headaches, ringing in the ears, chest pain, difficulty breathing, etc.

The cause of a C4 C5 bulging disc is different for everyone, but in general, the most common cause is some type of injury or trauma. Car accidents, falls, sports injuries, etc. are all common causes of a bulging disc.

Although this may be the case for most, a bulging disc can also occur from deterioration that occurs in the disc over time. As we use our spine (which is pretty much all the time), the discs can deteriorate due to normal wear and tear. This creates a weakness in the outer layer of the disc, which can also lead to a bulging disc over time.

Let’s discuss some of the most common treatment options available for healing a C4 C5 bulging disc. Most doctors will recommend medications (usually a combination of pain relievers and muscle relaxers), pain injections (such as cortisone or epidurals), physical therapy, and surgery (as a last resort).

Although these treatments will often provide relief, it is important to realize that they do not generally provide long-term results. This is because most of these treatments are designed to numb the involved nerves (which provides relief), but they do not actually address the cause of the problem, which is the injured disc.

I’ve actually found that a combination of treatments is most effective for this condition, and there are about 30 steps a person needs to take in order to help the disc heal completely, which provide lasting relief.

Let’s discuss just 3 things you can do at home right now to start the healing process.

First, I would recommend that you use ice on your neck if you are experiencing pain. Ice is usually the fastest way to experience relief, and although this sounds pretty simple, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had people tell me they use heat with this condition.

Heat is really one of the worst things you can do if you are experiencing pain, because the body is going through an inflammatory process, which is where the body will send blood to the injured area to try and fix it. This will cause swelling and excessive heat in the area, so what do you think will happen if you apply heat to it? That’s right – it will get more inflamed and aggravated.

Apply the ice over the middle of the back of your neck for 15 minutes or until the area becomes numb. Then repeat this every hour. If you do this consistently, you should start to notice some improvement in the pain levels within 3 to 4 treatments, and it should calm down considerably in about 3 days.

The second tip I would recommend is that you watch the way you are sleeping. Make sure you are only using one pillow, and that you are not sleeping on your stomach. Sleeping with extra pillows under your head will cause the neck to bend excessively which puts a lot of strain on the discs of the neck. Sleeping on your stomach forces you to turn your head to the side, and this excessive rotation can also be hard on the disc.

Finally, I would recommend that you bounce on a therapy ball. Therapy balls are those large balls you see at health clubs. Simply sit on the ball and bounce gently up and down for about 5 minutes every day. This will pump the discs of the spine (even in the neck), which pumps new oxygen and nutrition into the disc for faster healing.

Comments 29
  1. This information is really excellent and very educative especially the language is very simple, so understanding the same is not difficult. Thank you very much for the remedies given, I will defenetly try it.

  2. Extremely useful article. I have been suffering from arm pain and number for a couple of years now. I got a lot treatment and also underwent surgery recently for the same but nothing has worked. My MRI shows a C-C5 protrusion and now I am off to see a chiropractor. How I wish I had stumbled upon this article before surgery. Thank you so much again.

  3. Your article mentions that C4-C5 protrusion can affect hearing. I will follow up with my doctor and ask more about this. Thank you very much.

  4. I would think that the bouncing would not be a good idea for an injury. Seems like it would just irritate the area more, bring more blood to the area? Idk, I'm not a doctor. For the record, I don't trust any chiropractors either, was amazed to see that the top search answer for my problem was from one.

  5. Excellent advice. And I would say, based on my experience, that this advice is spot on. Thanks for reminding me about using the ball. Sleeping properly is #1, that’s about 8 hours of resting for your neck. Physical therapy taught me this. A life saver, really. Ice is important. I also use home-made traction (using a therapy band tied to a pillow case looped, and the other side to the door handle.) 15 minutes provides extreme relief. Chiropractic care also helps me, though I consider that a last resort. Using these methods collectively has allowed me to refrain from using excessive ibuprofen (eventually damages the kidneys) and nerve numbing medication. I just don't want to use medication – it's just a temporary solution. Luckily, I've avoided the injections to the spine, but I've come close. Thanks for the article. Like I said… spot on and helpful!

  6. It seems that I have all the systems that you have discussed. I'm now going to try your advice. Many thanks here goes fingers crossed and all that.

  7. Wow never been told about ice, always used heat no wonder I'm in constant pain, understand the condition a bit more now after reading this!

  8. Just been to see my neurosurgeon yesterday who has informed me I have herniated discs c4 and c5. It's taken them 6 years to now do something about it. Originally I went to the GP but he did a few random pull me, resists me, squeeze exercises he couldn't find anything wrong so gave me a number to self-refer to the physio dept. I did, twice. Eventually I found a lovely doctor who joined my surgery and he set the ball rolling and sent me for a MRI. Now I've been told I need an operation April or May. Finally!! Felt a bit of a nuisance by going back and forth to my doctors but I knew something was wrong with my neck and that it wasn't just muscle strain! I'm worried about op but also now relieved!

  9. I will start this treatment to see if it helps. I have been going to my chiropractor for a C4 C5 and T12-L1 and L2 disc bulges that I have had pain with for a few months now. I have been seeing him 2-3 times per week with only a little relief. I would like to start exercising again.

  10. I have C4/C5 and C5/C6 bulging disks. I am 72 and very active. My first Dr, an experienced man, explained it at length, but I didn't understand much. His treatment was only pain medication. The second Dr, a young fella, explained it much better, adding physio and chiropractor treatment. Your explanation was very good, and described much more of the prognosis and the treatment. Thanks!

    Stephen (Queensland, Australia)

  11. At this point, I am willing to try anything! I have tried everything the "experts" in my area have offered up. I have even traveled to a specialty clinic. To date, no one wants to touch my c3-c5, plus multiple meningeceles, then add to it my l4-l5. I am tired of living like this, so any relief is worth a shot. I am not one to take narcotics, so this sounds like a plan.

  12. WOW! This is very insightful info!

    I fell backwards from a swing at full height (at age 42) six years ago. Dr. were more concerned with serious bruising on the back of my legs. I was diagnosed with Fibro five years ago and I was relieved that it wasn’t just in my head.

    Fast forward to eight months ago when the pain in my neck radiated down my back, shoulders and upper chest. I upped my Lyrica and was really in brain fog.

    In August, I had a colonoscopy with a different-than-usual General Practioner and in my post-op appointment, I asked about the pain and wondered if breast reduction would help the pain. He had me get x-rays that day and followed up a day later with a close up on my neck. Then I got a call that he wanted me to get an MRI.

    My health insurance refused and called me to say that their company doctor didn’t see the need for an MRI. My dr referred me to a neuro surgeon, who after a consultation with me ordered an MRI. I had the MRI and consultation with the dr a week later, which was just two days ago, and he diagnosed me with buldging discs in C4/C5 and C5/C6! I was/am SO RELIEVED! I really got to the point that I thought, ‘what if this change of pain is in my head?’

    My advice to others? Listen to your body. When there’s a change – especially in pain – keep seeking help. I’m thankful for the above at-home recommendations! I sleep most comfortably on my stomach, so I need to retrain my sleeping.

    My quote for those of us in pain? “When I am resting because my body is weak, I need to remember that I’m not wasting the day doing nothing. I am doing exactly what I need to do. I’m recovering.”

  13. Excellent article. I have multilevel spondylosis. My RT arm is affected. I hurt from my shoulder to the tips of my fingers. There is burning, stinging, and wake you up in the middle of the night pain.

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