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D. The Diagnosis and Treatment of Cervical Disc Disease

Narrator: This is Science Today. Cervical disc disease refers to a degeneration of discs located in the cervical spine, which begins at the base of the skull. Dr. Kee Kim, co-director of the University of California , Davis Health System Spine Program, says the degeneration occurs as we age and there is a broad spectrum of severity of problems as a result of cervical disc disease.

Kim: The most common complaint is pain pain involving their neck and when you ask about the pain, typically they will talk about pain going down to the shoulder and going down to their hand. Just from asking exactly where the distribution of pain, we can pick out which nerve is being pinched and that is one very common symptom that patients present with.

Narrator: The current standard treatment is spinal fusion surgery, but Kim is participating in a nationwide study investigating the use of an artificial disc.

Kim: I have to kind of see whether this disc is truly revolutionary, but I do feel that this is a clearly important step towards better treatment of patients.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.