An annular tear could be just a small tear in the spinal disc, but it can cause big problems for your daily activities. In many cases, some people never notice that they have an annular tear, but for the people who experience the pain and symptoms that this condition can sometimes cause, this small tear is nothing to overlook.
An annular tear is a small rip in the outer wall, or annulus fibrosus, of a spinal disc. The discs of the spine serve an important role as shock absorbers against daily wear and tears, cushioning the other parts of the spine. If the annular tear is small and symptom-free, causing no noticeable discomfort, there are likely conservative treatment options that can treat your tear. However, if the inner contents rupture the disc by pushing through the tear and escaping into the spinal canal, painful symptoms can often appear due to nerve irritation and compression. Annular tears are most common in the lumbar spine, as that is the portion of the spine that bears the largest share of the body’s weight.
Annular tear pain can be both mentally and physically exhausting, causing you to miss out on the regular activities you enjoy. Things that were once easy, like walking or running, have now become too painful to do. If you are interested in learning more about small annular tears, allow this guide to help you navigate different causes, symptoms, diagnostic procedures, and treatment options.