Collapsed discs cannot be repaired in the traditional sense of the word, although there are several surgical options for removing damaged discs from the spine. This is because discs typically collapse as a result of gradual degeneration. When discs lose their elasticity, they become less and less capable of absorbing shock and springing back into shape each time they are compressed. While it’s not possible to restore elasticity to a collapsed disc in the spine, it is possible to treat any symptoms that develop as a result of spinal degeneration.
Collapsed Disc Causes
A collapsed disc in the spine can develop due to a series of degenerative conditions, meaning conditions that develop as the spine naturally deteriorates and weakens with age. Collapsed disc causes include:
- Degenerative Disc Disease – As a person ages, the spinal discs can become weaker and lose water content. When this happens, the discs tend to lose height and the space between the vertebrae can become smaller.
- Herniated Disc – This condition occurs when the jellylike interior of a disc is pushed through a tear in the disc’s tough exterior. The tear can be caused by degenerative changes that occur as a person ages or as a result of traumatic injury.
Other collapsed disc causes include sudden injury or trauma that forces the disc to flatten and change shape. If you are interested in learning more about collapsed disc causes, you can learn more about it here.
Collapsed Disc Treatments
Typically, a collapsed disc in the spine becomes painful if the displaced material compresses a nerve root in the spinal canal. Not only can they cause localized pain at the site of the compression, but also radiating pain, numbness, or tingling that travels along the path of the affected nerve. To help counteract these symptoms, physicians may recommend:
- Physical therapy
- Hot/cold therapy
- Corticosteroid injections
- Brief periods of rest
- Activity modification
If these collapsed disc treatments don’t adequately alleviate the symptoms of a collapsed disc in the spine, the next step may be the surgical removal of damaged disc tissue. Alternatively, a surgeon might recommend removing the lamina (upper arch) of one or more vertebrae to create more space in the spine. A surgeon could also remove one or more spinal discs and fuse the vertebrae in place for stability.
If conservative methods do not show results, surgical collapsed disc treatments are also available. You can learn more about collapsed disc treatments here.
BEST Health System
BEST Health System offers patients minimally invasive treatment options to avoid the long recovery period and large incisions. If you are interested in learning more about treatment options for a collapsed disc, contact our team today.