Nerve routes extend from the spinal cord through the openings of each side from the cervical vertebrae. Intervertebral discs located between the vertebrae prevent friction and allow for smooth movement between vertebrae.
A herniated disc may occur due to degeneration of the disc, or from rupture of the disc, secondary to trauma. The herniated disc compresses the spinal nerve route against the vertebra. This results in pain, numbness, or weakness along the involved arm or hand.