A collapsed disc occurs when a disc in your spine loses some of its water content due to deterioration and age, causing it to shrink. When the disc collapses, the space between your vertebrae that it was cushioning is exposed, which leads to direct pain in this region.

Changes in your discs occur as part of an age-related disorder called degenerative disc disease.

A collapsed disc can happen in any part of the spine, including the cervical spine and the lumbar spine. Depending on the location of the collapsed disc, symptoms will typically include lower back pain that extends through the buttocks to the upper thighs, or neck pain that extends through the arms and hands. Other symptoms may include tingling and numbness in the arms or legs, unresponsive leg muscles, or a difficulty lifting your foot at the ankle.

If a collapsed disc presses against your spinal cord, you can develop severe symptoms that include disrupted bladder or bowel function and leg paralysis. A collapsed disc in your lumbar spine can produce similar severe problems if it presses against a nerve root.

Changes in posture can potentially make your symptoms worse or better. For example, you may feel worsening pain if you sit down, bend your back, twist your back, or make lifting motions. At the same time, your pain may disappear if you go for a walk, lie down, or stand up.

collapsed disc

When you have a collapsed disc in your back, the decay can lead to a herniated or bulging disc. In some cases, it can produce bone spurs.

When treating a collapsed disc, there a number of things to consider. Most importantly is how much pain or discomfort is resulting from the injury.

collapsed disc relief

Treating a collapsed disc usually involves a treatment plan consisting of conservative, nonsurgical treatments. Physical therapy, pain medications, hot/cold therapy, massage, chiropractics, exercise, and stretching are usually very effective in managing your symptoms. The goal of exercise and stretching is to maintain flexibility in the spine and increase the strength of your core muscles, which assist in carrying the weight of your body.

Conservative medication consists of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroid injections to provide relief by reducing inflammation, which may help to relieve pressure placed on a compressed spinal nerve. Doctor-prescribed pain killers may also be given to eliminate any severe pain associated with the collapsed disc.

When conservative methods aren’t effective, surgery may be recommended to remove the damaged disc.

Surgery may not be the only solution. These days, adult stem cell therapy is gaining popularity with some physicians to rebuild deteriorating spinal discs.