An annular tear is a common side effect of age related degeneration and describes a condition in which the tough exterior layer of an intervertebral disc (annulus fibrosis) tears or rips. Annual tears are usually asymptomatic unless the jelly like material from inside of the disc (nucleus pulpus) extrudes out and irritates surrounding nerves.
WHAT CAUSES AN ANNULAR TEAR IN THE BACK?
The pressure of daily activities placed upon our discs, along with sudden injury, can cause an annular tear to develop.
- Traumatic injury such as a sports injury or automobile accident
SYMPTOMS OF AN ANNULAR TEAR IN THE BACK
- Pain that can extend from the back into the legs
- Numbness and tingling in the legs
- Weakness in the legs
The MISI Approach to Annual Tears in the Back Treatments
A physician will perform a physical exam and order diagnostic tests such as a MRI and/or a discogram to diagnose an annual tear. If the condition is not too severe, conservative treatment can alleviate painful symptoms of an annular tear. These treatment options can include one or a combination of the following:
- Anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication
- Pain Medication
- Chiropractic Treatment
- Physical Therapies
- Massage Therapy
- Injection Treatment
Most patients are able to experience relief through conservative treatments. If symptoms continue, the specialists at MISI can perform a minimally invasive decompression procedure in which the extruded disc material causing the pain can be removed. If the effected disc does not have sufficient disc height to maintain normal spinal structure, a minimally invasive stabilization procedure is performed to replace the damaged disc and restore structural integrity. The advantages of a minimally invasive procedure at MISI vs. open back surgery include less pain, less scarring, shorter recovery and less injury to surrounding tissues. This type of procedure allows our patients to find relief and get back to living more quickly.
Dr. Bryce Benbow has either authored or reviewed and approved this content.