Risk factors and treatments of a collapsed disc

If you have been diagnosed with a collapsed disc, the best place to start your research is at the beginning. A collapsed disc is used to describe a spinal condition that can cause a disc to lose height, become thinner or become misshapen. These spinal conditions, which include degenerative disc disease and herniated discs, can sometimes lead to significant pain and discomfort when reduced disc space causes other components of the spine to shift out of place and compress a nerve root or spinal cord.

The discs in the spine act as natural shock absorbers between the bony vertebrae. Discs have two main components: a tough outer layer and a gel-like center. When pressure occurs along the spinal column, the inner nucleus of the disc squeezes outward against the wall of the disc. The elastic recoil of the containment wall pushes the jellylike core back into position, re-establishing the height and shape of the disc. As a person ages, natural daily activity causes repeated compression of the disc. Small tears may develop in the fibers of the outer disc wall, causing some loss of the wall’s elastic recoil.

The outer disc wall can no longer push the inner material back into shape as effectively, causing the outer layer to bulge or collapse. This condition remains asymptomatic unless nerve tissue is entrapped. Only when entrapment occurs do symptoms develop, like with a compressed spinal nerve. Typical symptoms include localized or radiating pain, numbness, weakness and tingling. To learn about the risk factors associated with this condition and the treatments available for relief, read the following article.

Collapsed disc risk factors

Risk factors that can lead toward the development of a collapsed disc include both preventable and changeable factors, as well as those that are uncontrollable, including:

  • Weight. Patients who are overweight are more likely to develop a collapsed disc because of the added pressure that excess weight places on the neck and back.
  • Age. The spine naturally degenerates as we age. Patients who are over the age of 35 are more likely to develop a collapsed disc as a result of these degenerative changes.
  • Smoking. Tobacco use decreases oxygen levels in the blood, which can affect numerous parts of the body. Smoking can deprive the body of essential nutrients, and spinal discs are no exception. Carbon monoxide from smoking poisons enzymes and hastens degeneration.
  • Physical demands. Working in a physically demanding job or participating in high-impact sports, such as hockey, basketball or football, can place additional wear on the spine. This overexertion can cause accelerated degenerative changes in the spine that may lead to a collapsed disc.

Collapsed disc treatments

Patients who are already experiencing the symptoms caused by a collapsed disc have several treatment options. Many patients respond to over-the-counter pain medications, low-impact exercise and chiropractic care. However, some patients may not experience adequate relief after several weeks or months of treatment and may be able to benefit from the minimally invasive procedures performed by the board-certified+ surgeons at Laser Spine Institute. Contact our dedicated team to learn about our collapsed disc procedures.

At Laser Spine Institute, we have performed more than 100,000 patient procedures since 2005, setting us apart as the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery. To treat a collapsed disc, our team removes part or all of the damaged disc from the compressed nerve and potentially stabilizes the spine, depending on the severity of your condition. Reach out to Laser Spine Institute today and ask for a free MRI review* to find out if you are a potential candidate for our outpatient surgery. We can help you recapture your quality of life from this debilitating condition.