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What are the symptoms of a collapsed disc?

The term “collapsed disc” is not an accepted medical term. It is a common phrase used to describe conditions that affect the spinal discs and cause the space between vertebrae to diminish. This term is usually used to describe a herniated disc, a bulging disc or degenerative disc disease.


If neural tissue is not compressed, no symptoms are produced. When a disc collapses and causes compression of a spinal nerve or the spinal cord itself, you can experience a number of symptoms, including:

  • Pain in the neck, back and/or extremities
  • Weakness or complete loss of muscular function
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Muscle spasms

These symptoms vary in severity and directly relate to the severity of neural compression. Symptoms may be experienced in different parts of the body depending on the location of the compressed nerve. A compressed nerve in the cervical (neck) region of the spine, for instance, may cause the above symptoms in the neck, shoulders, arms and hands, while a compressed nerve in the thoracic (middle) region of the spine may cause discomfort in the ribs and torso.

Collapsed discs are most common in the lumbar (lower) region of the spine, since this area is responsible for supporting the majority of a person’s weight. A collapsed disc in the lumbar region typically causes symptoms in the lower back, buttocks, legs and feet.

Treatment options

These symptoms are usually relieved with conservative treatments such as rest, pain medications, steroidal spine injections and moderate exercise. If you continue to experience the symptoms of a collapsed disc despite months of conservative therapy, you may require surgery. You should seek out the least invasive, most effective surgical treatment possible to decrease the risk of problematic surgical outcomes.

Currently, the least invasive form of spine surgery is minimally invasive spine surgery, such as the procedures performed at USA Spine Care, to treat degenerative spine conditions like a collapsed disc. Our minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures are a safer and effective alternative^ to traditional open back surgery. Our outpatient procedures offer smaller incisions and lower rates of infection and complication compared to traditional open back surgery. Contact USA Spine Care today to learn more and for a review of your MRI report or CT scan to determine if you are candidate for one of our innovative procedures.

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