How to treat a collapsed disc

The term “collapsed disc” is often used as a colloquialism for one of several disc conditions, such as degenerative disc disease and bulging or herniated discs. Each of these conditions involves an intervertebral disc that has lost some of its height. When a disc loses its height, the space between the vertebrae can become smaller, occasionally causing a spinal nerve or the spinal cord to be compressed.


A collapsed disc only becomes symptomatic when a spinal nerve or the spinal cord becomes pinched or compressed. Patients with an impinged spinal nerve may experience symptoms of pain, numbness, tingling, muscle weakness and muscle spasms. These symptoms can be felt in the neck, back or extremities, depending on which region of the spine contains the compressed nerve.


Most doctors will begin treatment of a symptomatic collapsed disc with one or more of the following conservative treatments:

  • Pain medications (either prescription or over-the-counter)
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Hot/cold compresses
  • Moderate exercise
  • Intermittent rest
  • Spinal injections

Some patients also benefit from alternative therapies such as Pilates, yoga, acupuncture, chiropractic medicine and massage therapy. Patients should discuss medication and exercise programs with their physicians before undergoing surgical intervention to reduce the risk of serious complications or further injury inherent in surgery.

If conservative and alternative treatments fail, determine the least invasive efficacious surgical treatment possible. The outpatient procedures performed by the orthopedic surgeons at Laser Spine Institute utilize minimally invasive technology. Our procedures require a smaller incision than traditional open back surgery, allowing patients to encounter fewer risks and enjoy a much shorter recovery time.^ Contact Laser Spine Institute today for more information.