The spinal discs serve as the spine’s shock absorbers, helping to cushion the other elements of the spine during movement. Made up of a tough outer wall and a gelatinous interior core, healthy discs quickly recover and return to their proper shape after being put under pressure. However, as a spinal disc loses its water content and elasticity following many years of wear and tear, it can begin to lose its natural height, which results in what is known as a collapsed disc. When this occurs, the normal buffer space between vertebrae is reduced and nerve roots and the spinal cord can sometimes be pinched, resulting in pain and other troubling symptoms of a collapsed disc that may require treatment.
Treating a collapsed disc when you’re an athlete
If you are experiencing bothersome symptoms and you would like to continue participating in sports, there are a variety of collapsed disc treatment options that may provide the relief you are looking for. Some examples include:
- Altering your exercise options. It might be a good idea to consult with your physician to discuss which sports are the best options while you’re undergoing collapsed disc treatment. You may need to avoid contact sports and focus on low-impact activities such as swimming.
- Lifestyle modifications. Shedding excess pounds, eliminating alcohol and tobacco use, avoiding heavy lifting and using better posture are a few of the options that can reduce the strain on your spine and lead to better overall spine health.
- Stretching and strengthening exercises. With your doctor’s approval, there are a variety of light exercises that can help strengthen the muscles supporting the spine while also improving your flexibility.
- Medications. Prescription and over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can reduce inflammation and help alleviate pain. Corticosteroid injections are also an option.
- Hot and cold therapy. Alternating heat and ice packs can improve circulation, relax muscles and help reduce inflammation, both before and after exercising.
Collapsed disc treatment at USA Spine Care
If your symptoms persist and are preventing you from playing the sports you love despite several weeks or months of conservative treatment, you may want to consider surgical collapsed disc treatment at USA Spine Care. Our board-certified surgeons+ have helped more than 75,000 patients, and our minimally invasive surgeries have a shorter recovery time than traditional open neck or back surgery.^
Contact USA Spine Care if you would like to learn more about our outpatient procedures, or to receive a no-cost MRI review* to find out if you are a candidate.
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