What are Normal Changes of the Spine?​



The spine begins to undergo completely normal, age-related changes at around age 13, and by our 40’s, our spine has already gone through a LOT of changes that we may not even be aware of.

Normal age-related changes of the spine include disc height loss, disc bulges and protrusions, and many other terms that sound bad, but generally aren’t.

Check out all these normal changes that the spine will undergo over time without pain or other symptoms!

In extremely rare cases (less than 10% chance!), these changes can take up too much free space around the nerve and surgery may be helpful to clear some space for the nerve to breath better.

Occasionally, there are minor injuries that may occur with these spinal changes that may result in an inflammatory “chemical soup” in the space around the nerves of the spine. These “soups” may sometimes cause problems, including pain, but they will typically resolve themselves all on their own.

Healthcare professionals who specialize in pain and movement can help you through the recovery process if you need backup.


Scientific References

Tonosu, Juichi, et al. “The associations between magnetic resonance imaging findings and low back pain: A 10-year longitudinal analysis.” PloS one 12.11 (2017): e0188057.

Brinjikji, W., et al. “Systematic literature review of imaging features of spinal degeneration in asymptomatic populations.” American Journal of Neuroradiology 36.4 (2015): 811-816

Suri, Pradeep, et al. “Longitudinal associations between incident lumbar spine MRI findings and chronic low back pain or radicular symptoms: retrospective analysis of data from the longitudinal assessment of imaging and disability of the back (LAIDBACK).” BMC musculoskeletal disorders 15.1 (2014): 152.

Tertti, M. O., et al. “Low-back pain and disk degeneration in children: a case-control MR imaging study.” Radiology 180.2 (1991): 503-507.

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Leonard Van Gelder

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