Types of Annular Tears

Annular Tear Types
Types of Annular Tears

There may be peripheral, central and radial types of annular tears. If you are diagnosed with an annular tear, treatment usually is non-surgical that may work very well in managing the symptoms of the annular tear and even symptoms of nerve compression.

 



Cervical Annular Tear

  • A cervical annular tear occurs with a disc herniation. The annular tear is a tearing of the disc external surface that may occur with the aging process or with injury. The annulus may thin or bulge or weaken to the point that disc material may extrude into the spinal canal.
  • Annular tear in the neck may cause chronic pain, and with a disc herniation or disc protrusion there may be nerve symptoms of Weakness, Numbness, Tingling and pain radiating into the arm.
  • The annular tear may heal on its own with conservative treatments. Non-surgical conservative treatment should always be tried first. These may include physical therapy epidural steroid injections and medications for pain and inflammation.
  • If conservative treatment fails, there are a number of minimally invasive procedures that are alternative to traditional surgical procedures.

Lumbar Annular Tear

  • A lumbar annular tear occurs usually with a disc herniation. The annular tear is a tearing of the disc external surface that may occur with the aging process or with injury. The L4-5 and L5-S1 discs are the most commonly affected.  The annulus may thin or bulge or weaken to the point that disc material may extrude into the spinal canal.
  • Annular tear in the back may cause chronic pain, and with a disc herniation or disc protrusion there may be nerve symptoms of Weakness, Numbness, Tingling and pain radiating into the leg.
  • The annular tear may heal on its own with conservative treatments. Non-surgical conservative treatment should always be tried first. These may include physical therapy epidural steroid injections, hot/cold therapy, and medications for pain and inflammation.
  • If conservative treatment fails, there are a number of minimally invasive procedures that are alternative to traditional surgical procedures.

Small Annular Tear

  • When a small tear opens in the annular ligament it may allow gel-like nucleus pulposus to contact the outer ligament causing pain and even nerve symptoms. The annular tear by itself will not cause pain but the leakage of the internal gel causes the pain.
  • A small annular tear may heal on its own and conservative measures may speed it along.
  • If you cannot get comfortable then there are safe endoscopic techniques as minimally invasive alternatives to open back surgery that may make you pain free.
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