Annular Tear Risk Factors

What is an Annular Tear?

An annular tear is a sometimes-painful condition that occurs when a disc in the spine tears under the pressure of the surrounding vertebrae.

The pressure on the vertebrae that causes a disc to tear is often caused by certain lifestyle choices, such as weight gain and repetitive motions, as well as unavoidable factors like the natural aging process of the spine. Understanding these factors can help you make lifestyle choices that will increase your overall spine health. These can also decrease your risk of developing an annular tear or other degenerative spine conditions. Sometimes small changes in your everyday activities can make a great positive impact on your spine health.

At BEST Health System, we believe in a conservative approach to treatment. Our spine surgeon, Dr. Girton, is dedicated to helping patients find a treatment path that they are comfortable and confident with. Continue reading to learn more about three common causes of an annular tear.

What Causes an Annular Tear?

Common causes of annular tears include:

  • Age. The most common cause of an annular tear is age. The spine suffers years of wear and tear, and the discs in the spine can gradually deteriorate as a result. Over time, the discs in the spine may lose elasticity, causing the tough outer layer of the disc to tear when the spine is under pressure, instead of stretching like a younger disc might.
  • Strenuous activities. Participation in high-impact sports (e.g., football and rugby) can cause the tough, elastic outer layer of the disc to become injured. Either acute or continued impact can lead to an annular tear. Occupations that require heavy lifting or constant bending can also lead to disc injury or annular tear.
  • Weight. Since the majority of a person’s weight is supported by the back, increased weight causes stress on the discs. Carrying excess body weight forces pressure on the vertebrae and discs in the back, possibly causing the discs to expand and tear under the pressure.

Treatment with Dr. Keith Girton

BEST Health System offers conservative therapies and minimally invasive surgical procedures. Our primary goal is to help patients find the least invasive, most effective treatment option. For patients struggling with chronic back pain, Dr. Keith Girton is our spine and neck specialist. He works directly with patients looking for surgery to help them find a minimally invasive alternative. 

BEST Health System is a spine and orthopaedic outpatient ambulatory center. We help patients who are struggling with chronic pain to find a solution. Contact BEST today to learn more about treatment with Dr. Keith Girton.