a disc bulge
occurs in a patient with "degenerative arthritis" known
as Osteoarthritis. (This is to be distinguished
from Osteoporosis, which is the thinning of bones
due to loss of calcium, and which usually occurs in genetically
predisposed post-menopausal women.) In the illustration below,
the facet joint has become large (hypertrophied) and developed
bony spurs, i.e. it is osteoarthritic.
the nerve no longer has enough room to exit the spinal
canal, and sciatica with varying degrees of pain, numbness, and
weakness will be present.
occurs whenever the spinal canal or the hole a nerve root exits
(foramina) the spinal canal is narrowed. In the
above illustration, the foramina was tight (i.e., stenotic!) prior
to the disc herniation. Thus a person with stenosis is more likely
to be symptomatic from even mild disk herniations. Click to learn
more about the various types of stenosis.
the incompetent disc and the bulging herniated disc
accompanied with severe enough osteoarthritic changes, will require
surgery to correct.