Disc Abnormalities

Bulging Lumbar Cervical Disc

Disc AbnormalitiesExcessive weight, bad postures, undue movements, improper weight lifting and other kind of traumas may weaken the inter vertebral disks. When this occurs the pulpous nucleus (spongy center) will bulge against the annulus (outer ring), or even be squeezed through it (extruded disc).

Herniated Lumbar Cervical Discs

If this bulged, or herniated disc, presses one of the nerves, it will produce pain going down the leg, in the distribution of the nerve, and maybe in the lower back. Sciatic pain occurs when the disc presses one of the nerves that form the sciatic nerve. Other symptoms could be weakness, tingling or numbness on the areas corresponding to the affected nerve. Sometimes bladder compromise is also present, which is made evident for urine retention and this need to be taken care as an emergency.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is typically associated with aging. As you age, your discs, like other joints in the body, can degenerate (break down) and become problematic: that's a natural part of growing older as your body deals with years of strain, overuse, and maybe even misuse. However, DDD can occur in people as young as 20, so sadly, youth doesn't always protect you from this disc-related condition. In fact, some patients may inherit a prematurely aging spine.

Degenerative disc disease involves the intervertebral discs. Those are the pillow-like cushions between your vertebrae in your spine. They help your back carry weight and allow complex motions of the spine while maintaining stability. As you age, the discs can lose flexibility, elasticity, and shock absorbing characteristics. They also become thinner as they dehydrate. When all that happens, the discs change from a supple state that allows fluid movement to a stiff and rigid state that restricts your movement and causes pain.

If you have chronic back or neck pain, you may have degenerative disc disease. It commonly occurs in your low back (lumbar spine) or neck (cervical spine). Developing degenerative disc disease is a gradual process. As you can see in the illustration, there are even many stages and states your discs can go through as part of DDD. They can bulge, herniate, or thin. Because of disc changes, your vertebrae can be affected-you can see this in the illustration, too. For example, bone spurs (osteophytes) can form as your spine tries to adjust to the intervertebral disc changes.