What Is a Thinning Disc?
Learn about the symptoms and treatment options for a thinning disc.
In the same way that muscles get smaller and bones get weaker as we age, the soft cushion-like discs that separate the bones of the spine begin to deteriorate and become a thinning disc. They begin to lose water content within the gel-like center, and the disc’s tough outer wall can become brittle and weak.
This combination reduces the disc’s ability to serve as a shock absorber between the vertebrae. This can make the disc more susceptible to injury, leading to bulges and herniations.
What You May Be Feeling
Pain In Extremities
Isolated Pain One Side
Potential Thinning Disc Treatment Options
When the disc compresses the spinal cord or nerve root, replacement can be an option. The disc is replaced with an artificial disc to preserve motion at the disc space.
Anterior Cervical Disc Fusion (ACDF)
During an ACDF, the damaged disc in the neck is removed, relieving pain and pressure. Then a reinforced implant takes its place, providing stability.
During a lumbar fusion the damaged disc is removed from the lower back (lumbar spine), and the two vertebrae are fused together with a reinforced implant to create support.
Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)
Also known as an RFA, this procedure uses high-energy radio frequency to ablate (or remove/vaporize) the troubled nerve, essentially eliminating the sensation of pain.