Collapsed disc: definition, symptoms and treatments for this condition

A collapsed disc is a disc in the spine that has lost its normal height, typically due to age-related changes combined with the everyday stresses placed on them by surrounding vertebrae. Over time the spinal discs lose water and protein content, making them less able to cushion the vertebrae in the spinal column and resulting in a loss of height.

The following information can help you better work with your doctor to find effective treatment if this condition is interfering with your life.

Symptoms associated with a collapsed disc

A collapsed disc does not always result in pain. In fact, many people can have a disc that is beginning to degenerate and not be aware of it. Symptoms related to a collapsed disc are typically the result of spinal nerve compression. This can happen as a result of disc material bulging out of its normal place in the spinal column, or as a result of bone spurs caused by increased contact between the vertebrae.

When nerve compression occurs, it can produce the following symptoms:

  • Pain at the location of the affected nerve
  • Pain that radiates along the length of the nerve into another part of the body
  • Tingling or numbness in the area of the body where the nerve travels
  • Weakness in the muscle or muscle groups associated with the affected nerve

Treatment for a collapsed disc

These symptoms can often be managed successfully using pain medication, epidural steroid injections, exercise, stretching or other conservative treatment methods. Your doctor will recommend specific treatments based on the cause and severity of your condition, as well as your medical history and lifestyle.

However, if chronic symptoms persist after several months of nonsurgical treatment and surgery becomes an option, you should consider the minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization procedures can treat a collapsed disc on an outpatient basis. Because we approach the spine with a small incision and muscle-sparing techniques, our patients experience less risk of complication and a shorter recovery time compared to traditional procedures.^

To learn more about the benefits of our minimally invasive spine surgery or to see if you are a potential candidate for our procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute today and request a no-cost review* of your MRI or CT scan.