Vertebral collapse is a condition that can occur when compression fractures weaken vertebrae in the spine. These fractures are usually the result of osteoporosis — a common disease that causes the loss of bone density. In severe cases, osteoporosis can cause vertebrae to become so weak they develop multiple fractures and “collapse,” leading to deformities in the spine.
Women are four times more susceptible to osteoporosis than men, and it most often afflicts individuals over the age of 50. There are numerous risk factors that can speed the development of this condition, including a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, a low-calcium diet, estrogen deficiency, long-term dieting and heavy alcohol consumption.
Vertebral collapse vs. collapsed disc
While they both can occur due to spinal degeneration, a vertebral collapse and a collapsed disc are two very different conditions. A collapsed disc is a spinal disc that has weakened and lost its normal height. Healthy discs are rubbery and able to bounce back when put under pressure. After many years of wear and tear, however, a spinal disc can lose water content and elasticity, making it susceptible to a collapse.
When a spinal disc collapses, the space between the vertebrae through which nerve roots pass can be diminished. If a nerve is compressed due to a collapsed disc, symptoms such as localized or radiating pain, muscle weakness, numbness and tingling can develop. These symptoms can be localized to the affected area or can radiate along the nerve pathway to another area of the body. Collapsed discs are most common in the lower back area, as this portion of the spine has to support more of the body’s weight and is therefore subjected to increased pressure.
Treating degenerative spinal conditions at USA Spine Care
USA Spine Care is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and treats a wide range of degenerative spinal conditions. If you are experiencing chronic neck or back pain that hasn’t responded to treatment, we can provide a free MRI review* to help determine if you are a candidate for our outpatient procedures. Contact us today to learn more.