Prevention and treatment options for a torn disc

A torn disc is a disc in the spine that has been damaged due to the constant pressure of the surrounding vertebrae or normal wear due to years of high-intensity activities and repetitive motions. Most commonly, it is a disc that has suffered damage due to the natural aging process of the spine.

As we grow older, our bodies experience a great deal of spinal strain and the neck and back are no exception. After years of carrying body weight and supporting everyday activities such as sitting, standing and walking, as well as physical activities, the spine begins to break down.

While the body endures this stress, the discs begin to lose water content and flexibility, causing them to provide less support to the vertebrae (the bony structures in the neck and back). These degenerative changes can leave a disc susceptible to developing a tear or another degenerative disc disease.

However, because a torn disc can be created by the natural wear of the spine, there are certain lifestyle changes that can help prevent or delay the development of this condition. To learn about the specific factors that can help prevent a disc tear and the treatments for this condition, read the following article.

How to prevent a torn disc

While no one can avoid aging, there are certain things a person can do to promote a healthy spine and avoid painful symptoms of a torn disc. Those who are concerned about disc health should try the following lifestyle changes:

  • Weight management
  • Quitting smoking
  • Avoiding excess alcohol consumption
  • Eat a healthy diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Avoid heavy lifting or constant twisting, bending or sitting

Complete prevention of a torn disc is not always possible, but even small lifestyle changes can help strengthen your spine, delay the onset of this condition and decrease the severity of it. If you need help accomplishing any of these changes, a doctor can help you plan for a healthier lifestyle.

Treatment for a torn disc

If a torn disc has already developed, a number of treatment options are available. Most doctors begin with conservative treatment for a torn disc, such as pain medications, chiropractic care and physical therapy. This allows the spine to lengthen and stretch, letting the disc in the space heal. While this is a common treatment method for mildly torn discs, a more severe torn disc may require surgery.

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer two types of minimally invasive spine surgery to treat a torn disc — minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization. During our minimally invasive decompression surgery, our board-certified surgeons+ will relieve pressure on the pinched nerve root by removing a portion of the torn disc that is impacting the nerve.

This procedure does not disrupt the stability of the spine and avoids the tearing of local muscles, allowing for a lower risk of complication and shorter recovery period compared to traditional open back surgery.^ More severely torn discs may require a stabilization procedure, which simply replaces the torn disc with an artificial disc and possibly a bone graft to support the spine.

Our minimally invasive spine surgery has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain. The minimally invasive methods used during our procedures offer our patients a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery.^ For more information about our torn disc surgery and to find out if our procedures would be effective for you, contact us today.

Through a free MRI review,* our dedicated team can determine if you are a potential candidate for our outpatient procedures.