How do you know if you have a herniated cervical disc? Well, you could spend $2,500 on an MRI for a conclusive and precise answer.

And that's not a bad idea, it's just that MRIs can be expensive and often times MRI results do not significantly change your treatment plan. Your neurosurgeon may look at your MRI and say you have disc degeneration and facet arthropathy, which sounds perfectly terrible but in reality may only be a normal indication of aging discs. If your pain level is within the 5 to 8 range and you do not show significant weakness in your arm, the surgeon then will most likely recommend conservative treatment from a physical therapist.

Apart from getting an MRI, it is still important to familiarize yourself with herniated cervical disc symptoms.

Such symptoms may include neck pain, shoulder pain, pain in your bicep, pain in your forearms, pain in your fingers and headaches.

Also muscle spasms are often a precursor to a disc herniation. For the longest time the muscles under and around my right armpit would twitch like crazy. I tried to figure out what was causing the spasms but could never put my finger on the reason. Then after the recent onset of pain from a bulging disc the twitching went away. So, it was obvious to me that the muscle spasms around my armpit area were a signal that some-thing was wrong with my neck.

The muscle spasms were replaced with arm pain, pain in my right fore finger and right index finger, pain in my bicep and numbness in my forefinger and index finger and pain in my top forearm. These symptoms are technically referred to as radiculopathy.

There are many causes of radiculopathy including pinched or inflamed nerves, herniated discs applying pressure to the nerves, bone spurs from a degenerated disc, or even a disease damaging the nerves.

If you experience any of these symptoms, you may want to visit your doctor to find out what options you have to deal with the problem. But do not ignore the symptoms.

Just because you have the symptoms of radiculopathy does not mean you have to have surgery. Most cervical neck problems resolve by themselves, other are resolved with physical therapy or specialized exercise programs.