Understanding Collapsed Discs
A collapsed disc occurs when a spinal disc begins to lose height. While this condition has many contributors, it is most often related to the natural aging process.
As you age, the discs in your spine lose water content and can get thinner and weaker. The elasticity in the disc’s outer layer begins to wear down, making the disc more susceptible to flattening and expanding. Because discs are responsible for spacing and supporting the vertebrae, a collapsed disc can lead to increased friction between the vertebrae and potentially painful nerve compression.
Even though age is the main cause of a collapsed disc, other risk factors can contribute to the development of this condition, including:
- Being overweight or obese, which adds to the pressure on the spinal column
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Poor posture
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- High-impact sports
Symptoms of a Collapsed Disc
A collapsed disc can result in symptoms if it causes spinal anatomy to put pressure on the spinal cord or a nerve root. These symptoms can be experienced locally and radiating along the length of the affected nerve. Specific symptoms include:
While you cannot prevent the aging process, there are ways to manage symptoms of degenerative disc conditions.
Very often, nonsurgical treatments like physical therapy, chiropractic care, pain medication, hot and/or cold therapy, and others are very effective in easing the pain and other symptoms associated with spine conditions such as a disc. These treatments generally take several months to be fully effective against the pain and symptoms you are experiencing.
However, if you have not found relief after months of conservative treatment, your physician may recommend spine surgery. If you are considering surgery, connect with BEST today to learn more.