Aging and torn discs

Aging and torn discs often have a strong correlation, due to the changes that can occur as we grow older. Years of wear can take its toll on the spine and elements of the neck and back can begin to break down. All spinal discs experience a certain degree of degeneration, which can increase the risk of the development of an aging and torn disc.

Degenerative changes in spinal discs

Between the ages of 30 and 50, a person’s spinal discs can begin to change. The outer layer of a disc (the annulus fibrosus) can begin to weaken, providing less support to the bony structures in the neck and back (the vertebrae). The jellylike center of a disc (the nucleus pulposus) can begin to lose water content, which makes the disc less flexible and also stiffens it.

A weakened annulus fibrosus is susceptible to cracking, which can allow the nucleus pulposus to leak out and enter into the spinal canal. When this occurs, you may experience severe pain, muscle weakness, spasms and tingling if the herniated disc material comes into contact with a spinal nerve root or the spinal cord. If you are experiencing these symptoms, find out what treatment options are available in the following article to provide you with relief.

Treatments for aging and torn discs

A number of conservative treatment options are available for your condition, including:

  • Pain medications
  • Hot massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Physical therapy
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Ultrasounds
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Steroid injections

Before attempting any of these treatments for your aging and torn disc, it’s very important that you consult your physician to avoid making your condition worse. If these nonsurgical treatments fail to provide relief, your physician or spine specialist may recommend surgery.

We understand that you may be hesitant about traditional open back surgery, which requires large incisions, muscle tearing and a lengthy recovery. At Laser Spine Institute, we specialize in muscle-sparing procedures that are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery.^

Our minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures are performed using a small incision, with many of our patients up and walking within a few hours of surgery.^ Contact us to learn more about the outpatient procedures we have available for aging and torn discs.

Ask for your no-cost MRI review* today to determine if you are a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery.