I have a bulging disc in my L5 S1 and I've had pain and I've done physical therapy and my pain went away and in some instances I've felt the pain again. So I presume my disc has bulged out. If this has happened a few times is my disc degenerating to an extent that I may have Arthritis very soon because of my disc degenerating?
If you had an MRI of your lower back, it would already tell you the extent to which you have any arthritis. "Degeneration" is synonymous with "arthritis," in the general sense of how the term arthritis is used these days. It is usually used to imply degenerative changes to the discs, surrounding bones, and adjacent joints. While there are many different forms of arthritis, e.g. Rheumatoid arthritis (which is an autoimmune disease), the type often mentioned for most folks is "osteoarthritis." This simply implies a joint that is degenerating or wearing out, whether it be from old age or from injuries. In some casese, maybe even yours, it could be that your L5-S1 bone connection is "unstable," or loose, and the disc is being irritated and bulging more from one loose bone grinding around on the bone below it (with the disc in between). You can google this test: Prone Instability Test of Lumbar Spine, and you can see if you have segment instability. If so, appropriate exercises can help. You may also have joints surrounding or related to L5-S1, e.g. your pelvic joint, that are stuck or not working well. A doctor of chiropractic can be of great assistance in this department. I would suggest asking around and finding a good one. See if one of the doctors on this list are near you: www.westhartfordgroup.com or www.acbsp.com
'Hope this was helpful,