Disc Protrusion | Elderly

Disc Protrusion and the Elderly

Disc protrusion, sometimes referred to as a herniated disc, occurs when the jellylike interior of an intervertebral disc seeps through a tear in the disc’s cartilaginous exterior. If the disc material makes contact with a spinal nerve, a patient may experience pain, muscle weakness, numbness, cramping, spasms and/or tingling.

Disc protrusion commonly follows the degenerative changes that occur as a result of the natural aging process. Years of wear and tear can cause the anatomical elements of the spine to deteriorate, leading to degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis, pinched nerves, bone spurs and disc protrusion.

Alternative therapies

It is important for physicians and spine specialists to personalize a treatment plan that addresses the needs of each individual patient, especially those who have reached an advanced age. Traditional disc protrusion treatments may not be viable options for some elderly patients because of other medical conditions, prescription drugs and overall level of health. As a result, many of these individuals choose to pursue alternative therapies, including:

Massage therapy – Relieving the tension in neck and back muscles can help to reduce pressure on spinal nerves. Many elderly patients can benefit from this form of treatment since it presents no side effects or risky complications.
Restorative yoga – Yoga is a form of exercise that focuses on strengthening and stretching the core muscles, which can, in turn, help to ease the pain resulting from disc protrusion. This is a low-impact exercise, which is appealing to older individuals who experience joint pain and other medical conditions.
Acupuncture – This ancient form of medicine is thought to scramble pain signals and increase the production of endorphins by inserting tiny needles into specific parts of the body. Since it has no known side effects, it may be a viable option for patients who are concerned with drug interactions and the possible complications that are associated with other conservative treatments.

Laser Spine Institute

Laser Spine Institute offers effective alternatives to traditional open neck and back surgery, which may be recommended for patients who find little to no relief from non-invasive treatments. Contact us to learn about our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures and how they can benefit disc protrusion patients of all ages.