I've had crystal deposits in my knee that had to be removed. Now I'm having disc problems. Could this be caused by crystals too? And what causes these to grow in my body?
Even though crystal deposition is a common problem in the joints, scientists still don't know a lot about the process. The crystals seem to form most often in the extracellular matrix (ECM). The ECM is connective tissue in the body. It provides support and a place for cells to attach. The ECM also separates groups of cells while still keeping them connected.

From what we do know about crystal formation, there are four possible reasons for this problem. The first and most common is idiopathic. This means it happens for no apparent reason. There may be a reason, we just don't know what it is.

Secondly, it could be hereditary. Some families just seem to have this problem. The exact genetic link is also still unknown. Metabolic diseases, especially affecting the thyroid, is a third cause of crystal formation. The joints are affected most often but the discs may be affected, too. And finally, trauma or surgery (a form of trauma) can start the process of crystal formation.

Crystals have been found in herniated discs. Adults 60 years old and older are affected the most, so it's likely age-related. How much crystal deposition contributes to disc degeneration and herniation remains unknown. It does apear that crystals forming in the disc accelerates or speeds up the degenerative process.