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Spine and Back Health

Degenerative Disc Disease?

04/16/2009

Question:

Would a normal healthy disc L5S1, no matter how it is stressed EVER fail by a process of Postero-Lateral Herniation?

Do you HAVE TO have Degenerative Disc Disease to begin with for this to occur?

If not, how else can it occur?

Many thanks and best regards

Answer:

Hello, thank you for your question. Yes, unfortunately even a normal healthy disc can fail in the form of a herniation like you describe, though this is certainly the exception rather than the rule. The vast majority of disc herniations arise in a disc that is already pretty degenerated, but there are well-documented cases of a very young person (teenager, for example) with no known disc degeneration who is involved in a significant trauma and suffers a disc herniation. This type of event normally does not happen to a normal healthy disc without some form of trauma, however. I hope this helps answer your question.

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Response by:

David J Hart, MD David J Hart, MD
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University