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Differences between a collapsed disc & an osteoporotic collapse

A collapsed disc and an osteoporotic collapse are both spinal conditions that can cause similar symptoms of pain and stiffness. Additionally, both conditions can cause a nerve root or a portion of the spinal cord to become compressed, resulting in numbness, tingling, pain and muscle weakness that radiates out along the pathway of the affected nerve. Along with their similar sounding names, there are other reasons why it can be easy to confuse these two conditions.

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with a collapsed disc or an osteoporotic collapse, here are two key differences to note that can help you distinguish between them:

  1. The structure involved. First, it helps to understand some of the primary structures of the spine. The vertebrae are the bones that provide stability and structural support, and the discs provide padding to absorb impact between each of these bones. A collapsed disc occurs when one of the spinal discs becomes damaged, resulting in a loss of height in that disc. By contrast, an osteoporotic collapse refers to a vertebra that has weakened and developed a fracture that can cause structural changes to the bone.
  2. The primary cause. Both of these conditions are often related to the general wear and tear the spine endures as a natural part of the aging process. However, the degenerative conditions that lead to a collapsed disc include a herniated disc, a bulging disc and degenerative disc disease. An osteoporotic collapse is caused by osteoporosis, which results when the bones become more brittle and thin.

Minimally invasive spine surgery to treat your spinal condition

If a collapsed disc or an osteoporotic collapse is causing pain and interfering with your ability to go about your daily routines, your physician will likely recommend some conservative treatments. These may include pain medications, physical therapy, low-impact exercise or hot and cold therapy. If symptoms persist for several weeks or months, you may eventually need to consider surgery as the next step.

USA Spine Care has helped more than 75,000 patients with our minimally invasive spine surgery options. To find out if you’re a candidate for one of our outpatient procedures, you can submit a recent MRI for a free review.* Contact us today for more information.

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