Question: Can lumbar spinal discs fuse on their own?
I was diagnosed with scoliosis in my early teens, but have had no major issues until recently when I started having headaches, which were finally attributed to degenerative disc disease in my C5/C6 cervical vertebrae. This week I had a fall which caused me to visit my doctor and get an x-ray of my back. After examining the x-ray my physician said I had two fused lumbar discs in my lower back? I have never had back surgery and have never heard of discs fusing on their own. Is this possible, and if so, what can be done to correct this? Can I expect more disc to “fuse” as I get older?
Doctor’s Response: Discs can fuse without surgery, but scoliosis may also appear like fusion in an x-ray
Discs can fuse on their own. That being said, if you have scoliosis it would be hard to say definitively that they have fused on their own based solely on an x-ray. Scoliosis causes the vertebral bodies to overlap making assessment of the disc space difficult. If you are not having pain there should be nothing to worry about. A bigger worry would be whether or not your scoliosis has progressed over the years. If it is progressing as you get older it may require a fusion procedure to halt the progression.
In Spine-health’s Doctor Advice section, physicians respond to frequently asked questions about back pain issues. These responses represent the opinion of one physician, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the broader medical community. The advice presented has not been peer reviewed by Spine-health’s medical advisory board.