A collapsed disc is a condition where one of the spinal discs that cushion the vertebrae begins to lose height. This is usually related to the natural aging process that causes the discs to dry out and become less able to withstand the pressure being placed on them. Collapsed discs can cause symptoms if disc material bulges out of its normal place in the spinal column and puts pressure on an adjacent nerve.
If you have been diagnosed with this condition, you may be wondering if spine surgery will be necessary to give you lasting relief from any pain you’re experiencing. While surgery can be effective, most doctors will make sure that nonsurgical conservative options have been fully explored before collapsed disc surgery becomes a serious consideration.
Attempt these five treatments before collapsed disc surgery
There are a wide range of conservative collapsed disc treatment options you can talk to your doctor about, but here are five of the most common.
- Physical therapy. Working with a licensed physical therapist can help improve flexibility and strength in the muscles around the spine, potentially relieving symptoms.
- Spinal injections. An injection of a numbing agent and a corticosteroid can relieve pain and inflammation in the area for a period of time while progress of the condition is monitored.
- Hot and cold therapy. Alternating a cold compress, such as an ice pack, with a heat source can help numb the area, improve circulation and reduce inflammation.
- Therapeutic massage. Massage can help to relax tense muscles and potentially relieve some of the pressure being placed on the spine.
- Medication. Over-the-counter or prescription anti-inflammatory medication can help relieve a flare-up of pain.
Work with your doctor to find the right treatment, or combination of treatments, for you and your needs. It is also important to commit to making any recommended lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking or following a weight-management plan that can contribute to the long-term health of your spine.
When to consider surgery for a collapsed disc
Many people are able to enjoy a good quality of life without the need to undergo collapsed disc surgery by following a course of conservative treatment options. If weeks or months of pursuing these and other treatments have not brought relief, reach out to USA Spine Care. Our minimally invasive spine surgery is a safer and effective alternative to traditional procedures, offering our patients less risk of complication and a shorter recovery period.^
Find out if you may be a candidate by asking a member of our team for a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan. *
Browse Related Resources