Neck injuries can be extremely painful and debilitating. Some of the most common neck injuries occur at the C4-C5 and C5-C6 vertebrae. A herniated disc at either of these locations can result in long-term impairments, which can impact a person’s daily work and life activities.

If you’ve suffered a cervical herniated disc injury, especially in the C5-C6 area, and believe someone else is at fault, contact a personal injury lawyer at Lorenz & Lorenz Accident & Injury Lawyers PLLC today. You may be eligible for financial compensation.

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What Makes Up the Cervical Spine?

The bones that make up your spine are called vertebrae. The vertebrae in the neck are numbered C1 through C7. These stacked bones serve several purposes.

Vertabrae map

The bones in the neck provide support for your head and allow you to move your head in different directions. They also protect the spinal column that connects the brain to the rest of the body. This column also helps facilitate blood flow to the brain.

The vertebrae do not work alone to protect the spinal column and allow movement of the head and neck. Between each of the bones is a cushion-like material known as intervertebral discs. Intervertebral discs have two parts.

  • Nucleus Pulposus: This is the inner part of the disc, which is made up of a gel-like substance.
  • Annulus Fibrosus: The outer portion of the intervertebral disc is made up of fibers that protect the inner portion of the disc.

Together, the gel-like center and the tougher outside shell work to absorb shocks caused by movements of the head and neck. The discs also cushion the cervical vertebrae.

The human spine is a complicated system that can be easily damaged. An experienced personal injury lawyer can review your unique circumstances and explain how an injury involving a bulging disc in your neck may be eligible for financial compensation.

What Causes Cervical Herniated Discs at C4-C5 and C5-C6?

A herniated disc occurs when a portion of the inner part of the disc leaks through the outer section. The fluid from the disc can cause extreme pain when it leaks onto the nerves of the cervical spine because of the inflammatory proteins contained in the disc.

Injuries to the outer fibers of the disc, including an annulus fibrosus tear, can allow the center of the disc to leak out. Common causes of herniated discs at the C4-C5 vertebrae and C5-C6 vertebrae areas include:

Any sharp twist to the neck can put pressure on the discs, which can cause tears and damage that allow the inner portion to escape, leading to a bulging disc in the neck and leaking fluid into the spinal column.

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Common C4-C5 and C5-C6 Bulging Disc in Neck Symptoms

Pain is the most common symptom caused by herniated discs at C4-C5 and C5-C6. Some individuals might experience sharp pains or constant burning pain. Tenderness in the neck around the C4-C5 and C5-C6 vertebrae is also a common symptom of a cervical herniated disc.

In some cases, pain from a C4-C5 and C5-C6 herniated disc can cause pain to radiate down through the neck. The pain may continue through the shoulders, arms, and hands. Tingling, numbness, and weakness are also common symptoms of a herniated disc in the neck.

The symptoms may intensify with certain activities or movements. For instance, turning your head in a specific direction may cause sharp pain. Lifting heavy objects could also intensify the pain and symptoms of a herniated cervical disc.

A herniated disc’s location also determines symptoms, which can help identify the location of the cervical injury. If the disc between C4-C5 becomes herniated, the person typically experiences weakness and pain in the deltoid muscles and throughout the shoulder. Some patients also report tingling and numbness with a C4-C5 herniated disc, but it is uncommon.

Numbness and tingling are more common C5-C6 herniated disc symptoms. The person may also experience pain and weakness in the biceps, hands, and forearms. Some people experience a limited range of motion with a herniated disc between C5 and C6.

Diagnosing and Treating a Cervical Herniated Disc

Physical examinations help physicians identify the symptoms of a C4-C5 or C5-C6 herniated disc. The doctor tests the person’s reflexes, range of motion, balance, and sensory loss, among other things. Imagining tests, including CT scans, x-rays, and MRIs, can help diagnose a herniated disc in the neck.

Depending on the location of the injury and the symptoms, a doctor may develop a treatment plan that includes one or more of the following:

  • Muscle relaxers
  • Rest
  • Pain medication
  • Physical therapy
  • NSAIDs for swelling and pain
  • Epidural steroid injections or nerve root injections

If the symptoms do not improve or the person develops additional symptoms, the physician may recommend surgery. Cervical surgery may also be necessary in cases involving loss of bladder or bowel control and trouble walking or standing.

Personal injury claims involving C4-C5 and C5-C6 herniated discs can be complicated. Insurance companies often allege that victims are exaggerating their symptoms. A skilled personal injury lawyer can evaluate the claim and help build a strong case for the maximum amount of compensation possible.

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