What causes spine to protrude?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

The spine can protrude due to a variety of reasons, but one of the most common causes is disc protrusion. This occurs when the spinal discs, which act as cushions between the vertebrae, become damaged or weakened over time.

As we age, the discs in our spine begin to undergo changes. They become drier and less flexible, losing some of their ability to absorb shock and provide support to the spine. This process is known as disc degeneration.

As the discs degenerate, they also become more prone to tears and injuries. The outer ring of the disc, called the annulus fibrosus, can develop small tears or cracks, which weaken its structure. Additionally, the supportive ligaments surrounding the disc may start to loosen and weaken as well.

The combination of disc degeneration, tears in the annulus fibrosus, and weakened ligaments can lead to disc protrusion. When the nucleus material, the gel-like substance in the center of the disc, pushes against the weakened outer ring, the disc may bulge outward. This bulge can put pressure on nearby nerves or spinal cord, causing symptoms such as pain, numbness, or weakness.

It is important to note that disc protrusion can also be caused by sudden trauma or injury to the spine, such as a car accident or a fall. These acute injuries can cause the disc to herniate or rupture, leading to protrusion.

The most common cause of disc protrusion is wear and tear over time, as the spinal discs undergo degenerative changes, become drier, less flexible, and more prone to tears. The weakening of the supportive ligaments can also contribute to disc protrusion. Acute trauma or injury can also cause disc protrusion.