Disc protrusion — alternative therapies for elderly patients

Disc Protrusion and the Elderly

Disc protrusion, sometimes referred to as a bulging disc, occurs when a spinal disc begins to push out of its normal boundaries in the spinal column. If the disc material makes contact with a spinal nerve, a patient may experience pain, muscle weakness, numbness, cramping, spasms 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 parts 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 a doctor 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, such as spinal injections, 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 people 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 is relatively low risk.
  • 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 people 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. 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

For patients who have exhausted conservative and alternative treatments, Laser Spine Institute provides minimally invasive spine surgery as an alternative to traditional open neck or back procedures. Contact us to learn more about our minimally invasive spine surgery and the potential benefits it can offer, including to elderly patients.

We’re happy to provide a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.