Conditions That Can Cause a Collapsed Disc

Understanding Collapsed Discs

A collapsed disc describes a condition in which one of the spinal discs loses its normal height. This can cause a nearby nerve root to become compressed and result in symptoms that include localized pain as well as pain, numbness, and tingling that radiates along the nerve pathway. If you’re wondering what causes a collapsed disc, the following overview can help provide the background you’re looking for.

Collapsed Disc Causes 

Although sudden trauma or injury can cause a collapsed disc, it is more often the result of an age-related spinal condition. The years of wear and tear that the spine endures take their toll, and the many components that make up the spine can degenerate over time. Some of the most common causes of a collapsed disc include: 

  • A herniated disc. A herniated disc is a spinal disc that has developed a tear in its tough outer shell. This can cause some of the inner gel-like material to spill out, which can eventually cause the disc to collapse.
  • A bulging disc. Similar to a herniated disc, a bulging disc can occur if the tough outer shell has weakened but not torn. The weakened area may bulge beyond the disc’s normal boundaries, resulting in reduced disc height.
  • Degenerative disc disease. This condition describes the age-related degeneration of one or more of the discs in the spine. As we age, the discs become dehydrated and more brittle, which can eventually lead to a loss of disc height as well.

Treatment with BEST Health System

If you’ve been diagnosed with a collapsed disc, there are a variety of treatment options available. As a first step, conservative therapies may be explored. These can include pain medications, physical therapy, low-impact exercise, hot and cold compresses, and alternative therapies. If your symptoms persist or worsen even after exhausting conservative options, then you may need to consider minimally invasive outpatient surgery with BEST Health System.