What is an Annular Tear?
An annular tear is a rip in the outer layer of a spinal disc caused by degenerative disc disease or other spine condition. While not always painful, annular tears can cause local irritation and nerve compression that results in radiating symptoms.
Living with chronic neck or back pain can prevent you from living the lifestyle you enjoy. Simple tasks like cleaning or walking the dog may become unnecessarily difficult or, in some cases, impossible to complete due to the debilitating pain of an annular tear in your disc. If you have found yourself missing out on hobbies in life due to neck or back pain, then it’s time for you to start researching the treatment options available to you for neck and back pain.
Many patients associate treatment for neck or back pain with spine surgery. In fact, many patients with a degenerative spine condition such as an annular tear find effective relief through nonsurgical treatments. Your doctor will determine the location and severity of your condition and use that information to recommend the best treatment options for your needs.
Many times, patients diagnosed with an annular tear are recommended to undergo conventional conservative treatments, such as physical therapy, medication, hot and/or cold compression, or lifestyle changes like weight loss and exercise. The purpose of these treatments is to relieve pain while also reducing the pressure on the vertebrae so the damaged disc can begin to heal and repair.
Conservative treatments can often be combined with other therapies and medications to further reduce your pain and symptoms. Although outside of the medical mainstream, some patients also the following treatments to your physical therapy or recommended lifestyle changes:
- Herbal medications — there is evidence that some natural remedies have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties
- Massage therapy — to improve spinal alignment and relax the supporting musculature
- Yoga or meditation — to relax the neck and back and relieve stress through focusing on the body and breathing
- Acupuncture — to stimulate different areas of the body through the use of thin needles
When attempting any of these treatments, work with your primary care doctor throughout the process. This is important to ensure they are compatible with any other treatments you are attempting.
Surgery for an Annular Tear
If alternative therapies do not work for annular tear pain, you may be a candidate for surgery. At BEST Health System we promote minimally invasive surgery as opposed to traditional surgery techniques. This allows for a quicker recovery time and smaller incisions.
Are you interested in learning more about minimally invasive surgery with BEST Health System? Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our surgeons.