Collapsed disc — alternative treatments

A collapsed disc is a disc in the spine that has been compressed under the pressure of the surrounding vertebrae. This condition is often described in tandem with a herniated disc, bulging disc or any other degenerative disc disease.

Many times, a collapsed disc will develop gradually as the spine endures increased body weight and repetitive motions that grind the components of the spine together. As the vertebrae compress under added body weight, the discs in between them are pinched, causing the inner disc fluid to push against the tough outer layer of the disc in an attempt to flatten and expand under the pressure. While the elasticity in the disc’s outer layer is able to maintain the proper shape and height of the disc, this may decline over an extended amount of pressure and eventually allow the disc to collapse or bulge.

A collapsed disc is not symptomatic of its own accord. Symptoms of pain and discomfort only occur if a collapsed disc impacts a local nerve root in the spinal canal.

Symptoms of a collapsed disc

A collapsed disc can cause pain and discomfort when the damaged disc or surrounding vertebrae shift out of alignment and touch a nearby nerve root. The strength of the pain and symptoms is often directly related to the amount of pressure on the nerve root.

Symptoms of a pinched spinal nerve include dull or sharp pain, muscle weakness, muscle spasms, numbness and tingling. You can also experience these issues in the neck, back, torso or extremities, depending on which region of the spine is affected by a collapsed disc. If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, it is important that you consult a physician to determine the best course of treatment to find pain relief.

Alternative treatments for a collapsed disc

Many patients find relief from the symptoms associated with a collapsed disc through alternative treatments, which can include:

  • Yoga
  • Acupuncture
  • Herbal supplements
  • Chiropractics
  • Pilates
  • Massage therapy

These conservative therapies aim to stretch the spine to relieve pressure on the impacted nerve root and reduce your pain and symptoms. Sometimes, a physician may prescribe pain medication to help curb your pain and symptoms during your regimen of conservative therapy.

For many patients, conservative treatment is an effective option for relieving the symptoms of a collapsed disc and pinched nerve. However, some more severe instances of this condition may require more direct treatment in the form of spine surgery. If you are recommended to undergo spine surgery for your condition, we encourage you to research the safer, effective alternative to traditional open back surgery: minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute.

An effective alternative to open back surgery

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer several options of minimally invasive spine surgery to help treat the most common degenerative spine conditions. For a collapsed disc or other degenerative disc diseases, we often perform two options for surgery — minimally invasive discectomy and minimally invasive discectomy and stabilization. The type of surgery performed will depend on the location and severity of the condition.

The difference between the two procedures is that a minimally invasive discectomy only removes a small portion of the collapsed disc in order to release pressure from the pinched nerve root. This is commonly used for moderately collapsed discs. However, if a disc is severely collapsed, our surgeons may require the entire disc to be removed, which signifies a need for a stabilization procedure. Once the damaged disc is removed, our surgeons will insert an artificial disc to immediately support and stabilize the spine. This is our minimally invasive discectomy and stabilization procedure.

Laser Spine Institute’s outpatient procedures utilize small incisions, present fewer risks and have a much shorter recovery time^ than conventional open back surgery. Contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about our minimally invasive procedures and to find out if you could be a candidate for treatment.