The intervertebral discs are a kind of pads that are placed between two vertebrae and their function is to cushion the loads and allow the movement of the spine. These discs are formed by multiple layers that are arranged around each other in the form of «onion» (fibrous ring), inside there is a gelatinous nucleus (nucleus pulposus), when the surrounding fibers break the nucleus usually moves back inside the spinal canal (which is where the medulla goes down and where the nerve roots that go to the arms come out). The rupture itself produces pain but if this hernia also by its size or location compresses one of the nerve roots can produce the symptoms described above in the arms and hands.
They produce cervical pain that in some cases can spread (irradiated) to one of the arms and reach the hands. In addition, it is usually accompanied by contracture of the muscles of the neck and produce pain that is reflected (referred) in the head or shoulders together with a painful difficulty to move the neck. Less frequently it can produce weakness, tingling and loss of hand ability, as well as difficulty in wandering.
They can arise after violent trauma, this is usually more frequent in young people, after which intense pain would appear and with relatively frequent symptoms would affect one of the arms. In a larger group of people, especially between 35 and 50 years of age, it may be due to wear in the form of protrusions or herniations of the discs; in this case the symptoms would appear more slowly, in the form of episodic crises.
Except in rare exceptions, initial treatment should be carried out with anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs to treat pain together with rehabilitative measures. In the acute phase, relief can be obtained with a cervical collar, although its continued use should not last more than a week. Surgery is reserved for the most persistent cases with affectation of the arms and hands and for those in which suffering of the medulla is appreciated.