When someone suffers a herniated disk in the neck, it means that the cartilage that lies between the vertebrae of the cervical spine has ruptured or torn, allowing the soft, inner layer of the cartilage to push out through the outer layer. Since there are eight pairs of nerves within this region of the spine that makes up the neck, a person can experience more than just neck pain from this condition, prompting a myriad of symptoms that most people wouldn't necessarily expect.
The majority of people who suffer from a herniated disk in the neck will experience some level of neck pain. With a total of seven vertebrae making up the cervical spine, this pain can be mild to severe, depending on the seriousness and location of the rupture as well as the way in which the body reacts to the herniation of the disk.
With the number of nerves located in the neck, a person with a herniated disk can suffer from a neighboring pain. This pain may start out in the neck and emanate out into the shoulders and back as well as down into the arms, hands and even fingers. It may also be isolated to just the shoulders, between the shoulder blades or within one or both arms. It really depends on the nerves that are "pinched" by the herniation. And much like the neck pain itself, neighboring pain can run from a dull throb to a sharp, shooting ache.
Since the potential of a nerve being "pinched" is much greater with a herniated disk, it is also possible for some people to experience some numbness. This particular symptom may or may not be accompanied by pain, but will feel as if there is a lack of sensation within the neck, arms, shoulder or back or as if the affected area has fallen asleep.
For some people, a herniated disk within the neck can cause a symptom that is best described as a tingling or prickly sensation within the region of the body connected to the pinched nerve. Normally, the tingling or prickling will run down the arm and sometimes into the fingertips. But, it is completely possible to experience this same sensation within the neck itself, across the shoulders or down into the back.
Depending on the severity of herniation and intensity of pressure, a person may also experience a certain amount of weakness from a herniated disk in the neck. When this particular symptom is present, weakness can be felt in the arms and hands, manifesting as a difficulty moving these extremities or even holding and carrying objects. If a compression has occurred from the herniation, a person's ability to walk may become somewhat impaired.