Dear Enquiring Spines Want to Know:
Yes (Amin, 2017)! In fact, disc injuries are so common, that many people walk around with them 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.
“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 we get shorter over time, and, why our discs falter. In some people, these faults 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. "