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Home » Spine Conditions » Disc Protrusion » Can a mild lumbar disc protrusion get worse over time?

Can a mild lumbar disc protrusion get worse over time?

A mild lumbar disc protrusion describes a disc in the lower spine that is slightly bulging out of its normal alignment. This is a common condition that typically results from the natural wear and tear the spine endures with age. Over time, the gel-like discs in between the spinal vertebrae, which are approximately 80 percent water, begin to dehydrate and lose their pliability. Once a disc weakens, it can cause instability and the inner contents of the disc can begin to push against its tough exterior.

If you’re wondering whether a mild lumbar disc protrusion can get worse over time, the answer is yes. While it may start out as a bulge, the inner contents of the disc can eventually tear through its tough exterior, causing its contents to leak out into the spinal canal and inflame the various nerves in and around the disc. Since the disc has no blood supply it has no way to repair itself, so the pain created by the damaged disc can last for years.

There are a number of ways, however, that you can try to maintain a healthy spine and reduce the chances of your mild lumbar disc protrusion from getting worse over time. After consulting with your doctor, you can:

  • Begin a regimen that includes low-impact exercises and stretching techniques
  • Take pain relievers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Avoid tobacco products and limit alcohol consumption
  • Eat healthy foods to shed excess body weight and reduce the amount of stress on your spine

If conservative treatments do not effectively reduce the symptoms of your mild lumbar disc protrusion, USA Spine Care offers an alternative solution: minimally invasive spine surgery. Unlike traditional open spine surgeries, the procedures we offer require a less than 1-inch incision, incorporate muscle-sparing techniques and can be done on an outpatient basis.

To learn more about how we treat patients with a mild lumbar disc protrusion, contact USA Spine Care today. We would be happy to provide you with a free MRI review* to determine whether you’re a candidate for the minimally invasive surgeries we offer.

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