What is a Collapsed Disc?

Collapsed Disc Overview

Have you ever wondered why some people shrink in stature as they age? The effect is not an illusion. It is very real and often a result of spinal disc collapse.

A collapsed disc is a spinal disc that has flattened out due to a loss of water content. As age-related degenerative changes occur in the spine, the discs naturally become drier over time. This can be problematic because the discs serve as shock-absorbing cushions for the highly mobile vertebrae. As a disc loses height, the surrounding vertebrae move closer together. In addition to a loss of overall body height, this can lead to bone-on-bone contact and the development of bone spurs, which can potentially compress sensitive nerves in the spinal column.

Does a Collapsed Disc Require Treatment?

If a collapsed disc causes nerve compression, several symptoms can develop, including:

  • Neck or back pain
  • Muscle weakness in an arm or leg
  • Numbness and tingling sensations that radiate from the spine through an arm or leg
  • Muscle spasms

Collapsed disc symptoms can often be effectively managed with conservative treatments, such as physical therapy and pain medications. However, while nonsurgical remedies can be helpful for symptom relief, it’s essential to understand that nothing short of surgery can address the root cause of the discomfort — the collapsed disc itself. A surgeon can repair or replace a damaged disc by performing a surgical procedure such as a discectomy, which may provide a long-term solution.

Surgery for a Collapsed Disc

Suppose you and your surgeon conclude that surgery is your next step. In that case, you’ll need to decide on a specific procedure, which you should do only after reviewing the potential benefits, risks, and outcomes of all appropriate options. You’ll also want to find out how soon you can reasonably expect to see an improvement in your symptoms.

As you learn about collapsed disc surgery, you might understandably feel overwhelmed by all of the information. At BEST Health System, we believe that patient education is the most important part of the treatment process. Do not wait to find the relief you deserve. Contact BEST today.