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How do you repair a collapsed disc?

Collapsed discs cannot be repaired in the traditional sense of the word, although there are several surgical options for removing damaged discs from the spine. This is because discs typically collapse as a result of gradual degeneration (although they can also develop as a result of a traumatic injury, such as a car crash or athletic accident). When discs lose their elasticity, they become less and less capable of absorbing shock and springing back into shape each time they are compressed. While it’s not possible to restore elasticity to a collapsed disc, it is possible to treat any symptoms that develop as a result of spinal degeneration.

Treating the symptoms of a collapsed disc

Typically, collapsed discs become painful if the displaced material compresses a nerve root in the spinal canal. Not only can they cause localized pain at the site of the compression, but also radiating pain, numbness, or tingling that travels along the path of the affected nerve. To help counteract these symptoms, physicians may recommend:

  • Medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Exercise
  • Hot/cold therapy
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Brief periods of rest
  • Activity modification

If these treatments don’t adequately alleviate the symptoms of a collapsed disc, the next step may be the surgical removal of damaged disc tissue. Alternatively, a surgeon might recommend removing the lamina (upper arch) of one or more vertebrae to create more space in the spine, or removing one or more spinal discs and fusing the vertebrae in place for stability.

A minimally invasive approach to surgery

While some surgeons use traditional techniques that involve large incisions and long hospital stays, others take a minimally invasive approach. At USA Spine Care, our board-certified surgeons+ perform outpatient collapsed disc surgeries that have no lengthy recovery and a patient satisfaction score of 98.^ If you’ve been dealing with collapsed disc symptoms and are considering surgical repair, contact USA Spine Care to learn more about our minimally invasive procedures.

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