If you have ever suffered from back pain or sciatica, you’ve probably heard people refer to your back issue as a collapsed disc. While the term may be overused, there are certain circumstances in which this term can be used correctly. In this article, we will explore exactly what it means when your disc collapses and look at some of the most common causes and treatments available today.
Total disc replacement surgery
The Collapsed Disc
If a patient has problems with pain, weakness or numbness in their lower back, Dr. ____ may recommend Total Disc Replacement Surgery (TDR). TDR surgery helps relieve pressure on nerves to relieve pain. In TDR surgery, all or part of an injured disc in a patient’s spine is removed and replaced with an artificial disc that acts as a shock absorber for normal motion of your spine. After surgery, many patients are able to return to work in two weeks or less. Most patients who have undergone TDR surgery report that they feel better than before their injury within 3 months after surgery. Unfortunately, total disc replacement (TDR) isn’t appropriate for everyone. You should consider TDR only if you suffer from moderate to severe pain and if nonsurgical treatments haven’t worked for you. Your age, weight, lifestyle, and activities also affect your chances of successful recovery from TDR surgery.
Anterior cervical discectomy
The Collapsed Disc
In an anterior cervical discectomy, a surgeon will remove a herniated disc from your spine. This type of surgery is typically recommended for those with spinal stenosis, since removing that extra disc will help relieve pressure on nerves. The surgery involves opening up a patient’s neck to get at that pesky disc, so recovery time tends to be longer than average (usually six weeks or more). Most patients return to work in about three months.
But even though recovery can be slow, patients usually feel pretty good after returning home—even better than before they had their surgery. In fact, most say they feel like themselves again within just a few days after returning home! You may experience pain and stiffness along your cervical area as you heal. Some surgeons prescribe anti-inflammatory medications; others recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil) or aspirin as an option while you recover. There’s also something called NSAIDs that work well because they have less of a chance to cause bleeding ulcers if taken in large doses over long periods of time.
Laser spine surgery for treatment of spinal stenosis
The Collapsed Disc
A debilitating condition that makes even routine day-to-day tasks difficult, spinal stenosis can also have a serious impact on your lifestyle, including your career. Thankfully, many symptoms of spinal stenosis can be alleviated through surgery. Although surgery is sometimes necessary to treat spinal stenosis, there are many other options as well. A doctor will work with you to decide which treatment option works best for you; often, exercise and physical therapy can help reduce pain associated with spinal stenosis. There are even supplements designed to relieve pressure on nerve roots in affected areas. Your doctor will work with you to find a solution that works for you—there’s no reason for anyone to suffer from spinal stenosis unnecessarily.
Spinal decompression therapy
This type of therapy often works in conjunction with other treatments, such as massage or chiropractic care. Doctors will typically prescribe a series of treatments over a period of weeks or months to help alleviate pressure on the spinal cord. During decompression therapy, patients will undergo daily sessions in which they lie flat on their stomachs while a machine pulls back on their head and neck to ease pressure on spinal nerves. Patients may also undergo spinal traction therapy during which they’ll wear a harness attached to one end of an overhead bar or cable; once secured, they can move freely while gravity pulls upward against their body weight, applying constant tension to vertebrae that could be causing nerve compression.
Spinal rehabilitation therapy
In a best-case scenario, most people who have a slipped disc will heal on their own. While waiting for that to happen, rest in bed with your back flat (preferably with a pillow under your knees) for 24 hours after symptoms begin. Never move suddenly or sit up too quickly; these actions could further harm your spine and result in permanent nerve damage. Get professional medical help as soon as possible if you can’t get relief from pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, over-the-counter heat treatments, or ice packs applied to sore areas of your back. Painkillers alone won’t heal a herniated disc–they merely mask pain–so it’s important to see your doctor if you suspect something might be wrong.
Tips for dealing with back pain in general
Back pain is a frequent complaint, but most episodes are short-lived. There are several things you can do to help prevent back pain or deal with symptoms. Good posture helps protect your spine. Learn how to practice good posture at work and home; avoid slouching or standing with a curved back for extended periods of time. Exercise regularly, but don’t overdo it—try to be active every day without setting unrealistic expectations about how much exercise you should do each day. If you experience sharp or burning pain that doesn’t go away, see your doctor immediately as there could be a pinched nerve or herniated disc causing inflammation in your spine.