Dear Enquiring Spines Want to Know:
Even if your MRI shows changes in your spine, like a disc bulge, it can still be considered "normal" (Amin, 2017). Many people walk around with disc changes unknowingly: If you asked a group of pain-free individuals over the ages of 30 years to get an MRI of their spines, at least 30 percent would have bulges or herniations, explains Dr. David Woznica, Director of Clinical Medicine at Vori Health.
“An MRI is simply a picture,” says Dr. Woznica. “This is why having a team experienced in spine care is a must to determine if what you find in an image is relevant.”
Disc injuries are common because discs, like our skin, are subject to the wrinkles of time. "The force of gravity is inescapable by all creatures on earth," explains Mark Milligan, Director of Physical Therapy at Vori.
As a disc ages, its annulus fibrosus loses structure and its nucleus pulposus loses water; this is, in part, why our discs change (and also why we get shorter over time). In some people, these changes cause symptoms, and in some people, they do not.
"The beautiful thing to remember is that not all changes that occur over time cause pain," Mark says. "In fact, back pain is less prevalent as we get older, even though physical changes are more prevalent. Disc changes should be seen as a natural aging process versus a disease."
Talk with an expert Care Team to get a better picture of your back and how to keep it strong and healthy.