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What is Collapsed Disc ?

A collapsed disc is a spinal disc that has lost its normal height due to deterioration of its fibrous outer wall. While this degeneration can be related to traumatic injury, it is more frequently a result of wear due to the natural aging process. Diminished disc height is most common within the cervical (upper) and lumbar (lower) regions of the spine, where the vertebrae bear significant body weight and are subjected to a wide range of stress-inducing motion. A collapsed disc does not necessarily produce symptoms, but if reduced disc height leads to compression of a nerve root or the spinal cord, pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness can occur.

The anatomy of a collapsed disc

The discs are natural shock absorbers between the vertebrae in the spinal column. Discs have two main components, a tougher outer layer and a gelatinous core. When axial loading pressure occurs along the spinal column, the core of the disc squeezes outward against the outer layer of the disc. The elasticity of the outer wall pushes the core back into position, reestablishing the height and shape of the disc. Through the years as a person ages, normal daily activity causes repeated loading of the disc. Tiny rips may develop in the fibers of the disc wall causing a loss of natural elasticity.

Eventually, the outer disc wall can no longer push the center material back into shape as effectively, which can lead to bulges and a loss of height. The main way a collapsed disc produces pain and other symptoms is by reducing the space available for spinal nerves. Less space means a greater likelihood of nerve compression. In addition, the decreased disc height reduces the ability of the disc to act as a cushion between vertebrae, creating the potential for bone to rub against bone causing development of bone spurs. These bone spurs may also irritate or compress nerves in the spinal column as well.

Treating the symptoms of a collapsed disc

While disc degeneration is irreversible, resulting symptoms can often be treated successfully using pain medication, epidural steroid injections, exercise and other nonsurgical methods. However, if chronic pain or other nerve compression symptoms persist after several weeks of conservative treatment and surgery does become an option, contact SonoSpine. Our minimally invasive spine surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, leading to a reduced risk of complication and no lengthy recovery compared to traditional open neck or back surgery.

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Our Practitioners’ MRI review is an informational review of the MRI images and/or report that you provide to us. , This is not a form of diagnosis, treatment, correction, prevention or medical care. As such, the Practitioner’s MRI review should not be used as a determinant factor in any person’s physical or other health care, health treatment or health maintenance. No information provided by or through the Practitioner’s MRI review should ever be considered a substitute for any professional health care services, and you should consult with one or more appropriately licensed, registered and certified physicians, surgeons or other health care professionals for the same. In arranging for a Practitioner to provide an MRI review, neither Sonospine® nor that Practitioner assumes any responsibility whatsoever, nor shall Sonospine® or such Practitioner in any event or under any circumstances be liable in relation to your decision concerning your health care, health treatment or health maintenance, including without limitation any actions that you choose to take as a result of the Practitioner’s MRI review. A diagnosis and a final determination of whether you may benefit from treatment at Sonospine® can only be made after you have been physically examined in person by one of our Practitioners.