The lumbar disc functions as a shock absorber. There is a lumbar disc between each lumbar vertebral body.
Lumbar discs are compromised of a supportive side-wall called the annulus fibrous and the inner gel referred to as the nucleus pulposus. With degeneration there is weakening of the side wall with bulging of the disc. The disc itself also looses height and brightness. On the MRI, the disc will be shorter and darker.
To strengthen the side wall, patients can undergo the Regenexx procedure where their own mesenchymal stem cells are injected into the disc. This regenerative in design as opposed a microdiscectomy where a “nip and tuck” is performed on disc protrusion. This latter procedure disrupts the integrity of the disc and increases risk of degeneration and recurrent protrusion or herniation.