These symptoms often indicate compression on the nerve where it exits the spine. The compression can cause inflammation in the area, which can drive symptoms and become debilitating. At Forward Spine Center, we often see nerve compression and inflammation, which create disc-related issues that lead to arm symptomatology.
The discs in your spine are shock absorbers. They sit between vertebrae, or bones of the spine, and over time that disc can start to break down and degenerate. Early signs of disc degeneration are disc bulging, where that disc starts to out pouch a little bit. In later stages, we see disc herniation, where the inside material of that disc actually starts to seep out. This can create contact and compression on that nerve, causing symptoms into your arm.
Stenosis is the narrowing of the canal where the nerve exits the spine. We typically notice stenosis in populations of 50 years or older.
It's essential for us to differentiate between disc herniation and spinal stenosis, because the treatment, the management, and the at-home care are quite different for the two diagnoses.