What is a compressed disc?

Commonly diagnosed as a herniated disc, the term “compressed disc” can refer to when the gel-like center of a spinal disc (nucleus pulposus) pushes through a tear in the tough outer layer known as the annulus fibrosis. The disc’s function is to cushion the vertebrae and joints in the spine, allowing for upper body movement. Over time, daily activities, such as exercise, grocery shopping or sitting hunched over a desk, slowly wear out the discs until it is difficult for them to hold their shape, making bulges and ruptures more likely.

Symptoms you may be experiencing vary from sharp, local pain, to shooting pain that travels to the extremities. These radiating symptoms occur when displaced disc material pinches on any of the nerves running through the spine. Compression of a spinal nerve in the neck can cause pain, numbness, tingling and muscle weakness in the head, neck, shoulders, arms or hands. Learn more about both surgical and nonsurgical methods for compressed disc treatment in the following article.

How is a compressed disc treated?

If the debilitating symptoms you’re experiencing from a compressed disc in the neck have become unbearable, the best thing you can do is see a doctor for an exact diagnosis and a treatment plan that fits your situation. The good news is that surgery is not required in most cases, with conservative, nonsurgical remedies being the most effective way to regain normal activity.

Initially, treatment for a compressed disc in the neck focuses on symptom management as opposed to addressing the damaged disc itself. Your primary care doctor may prescribe the following as part of a conservative treatment plan:

  • Pain medication, epidural steroids or anti-inflammatories
  • Physical therapy, chiropractic visits or hot and cold compresses
  • Weight management, quitting smoking or reducing alcohol consumption

These nonsurgical approaches can be very effective for a large number of patients. But if you have completed a full round of similar conservative treatments without being able to get back to your daily routine, surgical options may be a necessary next step to find pain relief.

Compressed disc surgery at Laser Spine Institute

If your doctor has recommended surgical treatment for a compressed disc in your neck, consider contacting Laser Spine Institute for more information about our state-of-the-art procedures. The surgeries we offer are performed on an outpatient basis and have a 96 patient satisfaction score as well as a patient recommendation score of 97 out of 100.^

You may have been told that your compressed disc is the result of advanced degeneration, making you a candidate for a traditional open fusion procedure. For these situations, our minimally invasive stabilization surgeries are a safer and effective alternative that offers no lengthy recovery^ compared to traditional fusions, through muscle-sparing techniques that use a less than 1-inch incision.

Reach out to us today and ask for a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery.

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