I understand of course that smoking dries out the discs making them more liable to bulge and rupture in the first place, but I'm not clear on the extent to which stopping smoking allows repair to take place.
I gather that discs don't have any way of repairing themselves as such, but it seems that the body *is* sometimes able to deal with the problem of a bulging or ruptured disc in other ways - e.g. by absorbing the nucleus polposus material, or, I imagine, repairing the posterior longitudinal ligament and keeping a bulging disc in place that way (?).
I've just had an MRI done. Waiting 48 hours for the radiologist's report. But even I can see very clearly that the L5/S1 disc is bulging/ruptured quite badly. (I know I should be extremely cautious about trying to read an MRI scan, not being a doctor, but hey, it's really obvious.)
Anyway, occasionally really quite depressed at the prospect of this not getting better (age 33), or worsening.
Very grateful for any answers, particularly from people who have given up smoking and dramatically improved!