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Question about "collapsed discs?"

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Old 04-27-2005, 12:46 PM   #1
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FriarJen83 HB User
Red face Question about "collapsed discs?"

Hi guys,
I just had a question about something I read from one of my doctor's reports. My story is... back pain appeared out of nowhere 2.5 years ago, I'm 21 and been diagnosed with compression fractures in T6, T7, and T8, herniated L4-5 and L5-S1 with nerve damage, Scheurmanns disease and DDD in thoracic. The last surgeon I saw said that he believed my pain was coming mostly from collapsed discs in the thoracic spine where my fractures are. I know of herniated discs and other disc problems, but what exactly is a collapsed disc and why does it happen, if there was no trauma or any kind of accident??? Is this a fairly common thing and can anything be done for it other than I have several that are collapsed. Does anyone here have a collapsed disc and what kind of things have you tried for it? Thanks for all your help....I am getting pretty desperate with this pain and back problems.
Hope you all have a good day...

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Old 04-27-2005, 01:07 PM   #2
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victorsch HB User
Re: Question about "collapsed discs?"

In a general sense, a collapsed disk is the same as a herniated, degenerated, or bulging disk.

Basically, for some reason or another (the causes may be multiple), the integrity of your disk is compromised, and the gel-like substance that makes up the disk squeezes out. This is similar to if you would envision a soft ice cream sandwich, and you bite down and the ice cream squishes out the sides.

The sandwich flattens out as the ice cream bulges outward.

So, your collapsed disk is basically a bulging or herniated disk, but they are all synonymous and mean the same thing, just a different name.


Old 04-27-2005, 02:15 PM   #3
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carol632 HB User
Re: Question about "collapsed discs?"

As we age, the material in our discs tend to dry out, but you aren't old enough for the scenario. The truth is, no one can tell you why this happened. I do love the description of the ice cream sandwich! It is exactly the right picture to put in someone's mind. However, a bulging disc is a disc that has a section pushing outward. A herniated disc is one that has broken through the bulge and pieces of it have broken off.

I hope your doctor is giving you medication to help you deal with the pain. Good luck to you.

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Old 04-27-2005, 03:44 PM   #4
Join Date: Apr 2005
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et318 HB User
Re: Question about "collapsed discs?"


Would you mind sharing your age? Thoracic vertebral compression fracture treatment varies alot depending on age.

In some instances there will be initial irritation of the spinal nerves following the creation of the fracture. This can be treated with transforaminal epidural injections. The pain from Thoracic VCF would likely be mid back pain with some radiation around the side and possibly into the front chest wall area. In severe cases, breathing is painful too. The purpose of the injection is to reduce the irritation of the adjacent thoracic spinal nerves. A substantial number of older/elderly individuals have VCF and have no symptoms so it is not a condition that always requires treatment or always causes pain.

When injections are not helpful, there are two procedures. Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty. The most conservative is the vertebroplasty. This involves injecting a glue into the fractures that restores the normal vertebral height. They do this by using a small balloon that lifts the fracture and then the glue is injected. Kyphoplasty is a pretty radical surgical procedure but can be helpful in certain cases.

Hope that helps.

Good Luck

Old 04-30-2005, 11:28 AM   #5
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FriarJen83 HB User
Re: Question about "collapsed discs?"

Hi, thanks for your replies, I haven't been on in a couple days because my internet is down. Thanks for helping me with my questions. ET318, I am 21 now but this started when I was 18. It was 2 1/2 years ago. I have tried pretty much everything other than surgery since no one wants to operate on the thoracic area. I have heard that kyphoplasty and those only work if it has been no longer than 6 months since the fractures, is that true? I have already tried Epidural steroid injections about a year and a half ago, they didn't help but I started another series yesterday. It was so horrible, the doctor was seriously digging around with the needle for 45 minutes, he said because there was so much collapse in the area that he couldn't find the epidural space, and he tried so many times from all different directions. he kept on hitting the bone over and over again. that has never happened to me before, but no he didn't do it under X ray either. I am currently taking oxycontin for the pain. anyway, thanks again for the help!!!! I really appreciate it.

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