Collapsed disc treatment most commonly involves a treatment plan consisting of conservative, nonsurgical treatments. Physical therapy, pain medications, hot/cold therapy, massage, chiropractics, exercise, and stretching, are typically very effective in managing the symptoms created by a collapsed disc. Understanding the causes of disc collapse helps patients stay motivated to utilize treatment plans prescribed.
Causes of a collapsed disc
Intervertebral discs are natural shock absorbers between the boney vertebrae. Discs have two main components, an outer fibro-elastic containment rim and an inner soft gelatinous core. When axial loading pressure occurs along the spinal column, the central gelatinous core of the disc squeezes outward against the fibro-elastic containment rim of the disc. The elastic recoil of the containment wall pushes the gelatinous core back into position, reestablishing the height and shape of the disc. As a person ages, natural daily activity causes repeated loading of the disc. Tiny tears may develop in the fibers of the fibro-elastic outer containment wall. This causes some loss of the disc’s outer containment wall elasticity or recoil. The outer disc containment wall can no longer push the central core material back into shape as effectively. The outer containment wall sags, and is said to bulge or collapse.
Collapsed discs remain totally silent unless neural tissue is entrapped. Only when entrapment occurs do symptoms develop. Typical symptoms include localized or radiating pain, numbness, muscular weakness, and tingling. The location of these symptoms can vary, depending on the position of the affected intervertebral disc and impinged spinal nerve. It is nerve compression that actually causes the symptoms of a collapsed disc, not the collapsed disc itself. When a collapsed disc pinches a nerve, the symptoms that can result include:
- Localized pain
- Pain radiating the length of the nerve
If conservative collapsed disc treatment fails to bring you pain relief, contact Laser Spine Institute today. Our endoscopic specialists perform a variety of safe and effective minimally invasive endoscopic surgical procedures.