Making a diagnosis
First of all, a neurologist will listen to your symptoms. After that, s/he will carry out a thorough neurological examination. An additional examination will have to be carried out to determine whether the pain in the arm is indeed caused by a bulging intervertebral disc.
Sometimes X-ray images will have been taken by this stage. Such images do a great job of showing the patient’s bone structure, i.e., the vertebrae. This provides an insight into the shape of the cervical vertebrae and how the vertebrae are positioned in relation to each other. For their part, MRI scans are performed to show the ‘soft parts’ of the neck, i.e. the intervertebral discs, muscles and blood vessels.
Person suffering from a neck hernia
In some cases a doctor will request a CT scan of the patient’s neck, which will provide more information on the patient’s bone structure than a regular X-ray image can provide. Such an additional examination will sometimes be performed to show the size of the nerve canals in the event of a suspected bony stenosis of one of the arm nerves. Neck hernias will often present alongside stenosis of the arm nerve canal.