Bulging discs and disc desiccation

Hey all. I have been having back pain since March. I went to PT, DO and all said I had a rib out of place until I got an MRI. The MRI of my thoracic spine showed mild to moderate disc desiccation and minimal disc building at T3-7. This all started with my upper right back hurting after a yoga backbend so the bulging makes sense. I am wondering if anyone else has Experienced this and how they handled next steps? It’s a bummer To be 31 and already have disc desiccation. Could there have stemmed from the disc bulging? Would love for anyone one with similar issues to share what helped them. How do you manage or rid of the pain? 



  • Welcome KingEm01 we’re glad you’re here!

    Thoracic pain is rough, I have a herniated T12 disc which causes pain in my ribs and upper back, I have had injections in that area that have helped. Have your doctors created a treatment plan for you?

    While you’re waiting for a reply to your first post, please take a few moments to review the Code of Conduct and FAQ section, located under Forum Tools. There you will find important information about posting in the forum and helpful tips for new members.

    Here’s a great article about upper back pain on Spine-health that you might want to check out: All About Upper Back Pain. The article reviews the most common causes of upper back painsymptoms, and treatments. It has a lot of practical information that you might find helpful.

    Again, welcome to the Veritas Health Forum.


    Veritas Health Forum Moderator

  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,163

    King Em01

    From what I have read, disc desiccation  is one of the most common features of degenerative disc disease. It refers to the dehydration of your discs. Your vertebral discs are full of fluid, which keeps them both flexible and sturdy. As you age, the discs begin to dehydrate or slowly lose their fluid. Most people have DDD and never know it. 

    I agree with Chip, talk to your doctor about options.

    Veritas Health Forum Moderator

  • advertisement
  • L4_L5LL4_L5 Posts: 1,247
    edited 11/14/2019 - 4:08 PM

    I’m in my mid 40s and all my discs are well-hydrated, even the herniated one. I suppose in the future the herniated one will dehydrate, sadly. 

    According to neurosurgeons I’ve consulted if your herniation is on the smaller side the disc can remain well-hydrated for many, many years.

    I presume this is why I’m not a candidate for surgery. The appearance on the MRI is too good to risk surgery apparently.

    My personal opinion on herniated discs is not to beat yourself up if you think yoga or some other type of exercise may have caused the injury. 

    IMO many things can serve as “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” So if you didn’t herniate a disc doing x then sometime in the future you likely would have herniated a disc doing y regardless. I say this because so many sufferers beat themselves up for an injury that was essentially inevitable anyway. 


  • Thanks all. Update: my doctor said the minimal disc bulging and disc decessitation Isn’t enough to be causing my pain. He thinks it’s mechanical. I’m 31 and have been incredibly active my whole life and know my Body well. There’s just no way. I’ve been researching like crazy and have found that often times, herniation in the CERVICAL region causes Extreme back pain (specifically in the scapular region, where I’ve been experiencing pain since March) And chest pain that mimics that of a heart attack at times. They only did thoracic mri. Maybe mri of cervical spine is my next step.

  • You could very well be on to something with the cervical, a second or third opinion is never a bad idea either.

    Take care and keep us posted


  • advertisement
  • jbowerjbower wisconsin Posts: 161

    Good luck with thoracic pain.  Not to be aggressive but I have been trying to find relief for 3 going on 4 years now with zero luck.  I even went as far as getting a pain pump implanted.  The trial went well but the permanent one not so much.  It covers more of my low back than any of my thoracic pain. "But you said during the trial you had great relief so it should be the same with the permanent one." That's what they first told me.  Okay so according to them the trial and permanent is the exact same relief, come on.

    Your comment King about the chest pain that feels like a heart attack, I know exactly what you mean.  I have that almost daily and it is the worst pain.  I actually went to the ER because I thought I was having a heart problem but it all came back fine.  They said it had to do with my back.

    What it is when it shoots through into your chest is a pinched nerve.  My doctor has even agreed that it is a pinched nerve but they can't do anything.  Even though they keep saying it is osteoarthritis but I am sure that doesn't cause a pinched nerve.

    I'm still on the road looking for an orthopedic surgeon outside of my area because everyone said they can't do anything that I have seen so far.  I wish I could get a CT scan with dye the same time I habe the pinched nerve.  Not sure if that would show something different though.

  • Liz53Liz53 MissouriPosts: 78

    I have lower back and radicular pain that initially was caused by an injury from shoveling snow(6 yrs ago) I had back surgery in 2013 and then did lots of PT. It was recommended that I try yoga and it reherniated the same disc a few years back. Hard to know at times how much we can do to help without causing new injury. Understand that shooting pain just have it in my leg not thoracic area. 


  • thanks all. I think I am moving forward with a cervical spine MRI. Hopefully whatever it is that they find is not serious? my worst fear :( I hope if I have a tumor or something I would have worse and more symptoms than the pain? 

  • Thanks @challenger. All the doctors I’ve gone to think it’s a rib out of place. But now 8 months later it’s Worse and Don’t think it’s the rib.

  • Hi all, update - I got a cervical spine mri and they found a few things -

    C 6-7: mild osteophyte formation  

    C7-T1: Minimal diffuse disc bulge and mild right paracentral broad-based disc protrusion on series 3 image 8 and series 6 image 27. Slight indentation of the anterior thecal sac with mild right lateral recess and right neuroforaminal narrowing. 

    Anyone have anything similar with resulting back scapula area shoulder pain? 

  • Several doctors I’ve seen have told me the word “mild” on an MRI report is generally an indication that physical therapy, pain medication, and/or injections will provide sufficient relief for the issue, whereas “moderate” or “severe” on an MRI report means surgery could possibly be warranted.

  • Yout doctor will look at your scans and read them for him or her self, they may see things that are not on the report, or they may agree with the report, I have looked at so many of my reports that I have lost count, most of the time after speaking with the doctor, everything I thought was wrong.


Sign In or Join Us to comment.