Not necessarily. The idea of “degeneration” gives an image that the bones of the spine are pretty much falling apart. Actually, changes in your spine are a common part of the aging process. Sometimes spurs can lead to more pain, but there is no guarantee that pain will happen. Some people who show spurs on x-ray have pain, but others do not. An exercise program focusing on mobility, strength, and good posture and body movement, can help you prevent future problems. Also, the aging process itself can help stop pain. Aging tissues lose water content and become generally stiffer. Structures that do not move do not usually cause pain. The best advice is to keep active, exercise regularly, and see your doctor if you have pain or difficulty that you cannot manage yourself.
A disc begins to bulge when the center of the disc pushes out against the ligament that surrounds it, much like air being blown into a balloon. Bulging discs are common, and can be seen on MRI even in people who do not have pain. A bulging disc will cause problems when it balloons into the space in the spinal canal.
In comparison, a herniated disc is like a balloon that has popped. The disc herniates when the soft, inner material squeezes its way through ligament tendon and ruptures – like a popped balloon. Pain occurs because of the tear in the ligament, the pressure of the disc material against your nerves, and from the inflammation caused when the inner material is squeezed out of the disc. If there is pressure on a nerve, symptoms of numbness and weakness may also be noticed in the areas supplied by the nerve.
Nothing. “Ruptured disc” and “herniated disc” are two names for the same thing.