Many things that are diagnosed on imaging appear to be present in a large number of people without low back pain as well.
In this study, 52% of 30-year-olds had disc degeneration (and had no pain or loss of function). And the percentage went up with each decade of life.
This means we might need to reframe our thinking about degenerative discs from things like 'painful' and 'deteriorating', to 'normal' and 'typical'.
What if you thought of these changes as 'wrinkles on the inside' or 'gray hairs of the spine'?
It would probably be much less concerning and worrisome, right? Check out this graph for more information. Contact me with any questions firstname.lastname@example.org
Brinjikji, et. al. Systematic Literature Review of Imaging Features of Spinal Degeneration in Asymptomatic Populations. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2015 Apr; 36(4): 811–816.