In most cases, a consult with a medical doctor is required for a definitive diagnosis of an annular tear. Neck and back pain are extremely common, but in most cases minor muscle strains or ligament sprains are responsible. However, with age spinal anatomy naturally degrades.Intervertebral discs desiccate making annular tear increasingly likely. The center nucleus pulposus may squeeze through the annular tear resulting in disc herniation. Should the herniated disc material result in nerve compression, a variety of painful symptoms may result. This sequence demonstrates why it is necessary to visit a physician for a complete diagnosis.
What to Expect
Diagnostic techniques vary from doctor to doctor, but here are the steps most physicians take prior to reaching an accurate diagnosis:
- Review of medical records – the initial step is for the doctor to carefully review the patient’s medical records and history to determine if a pre-existing condition or genetic predisposition may be responsible for the patient’s neck or back symptoms. . The review can also be used to identify activities or previous injuries that may explain advanced degenerative spine conditions.
- Physical examination – after the review is complete, the physician should conduct a physical examination in which he or she closely examines the neck and back, supporting musculature, and joints. During the examination, the patient should be prepared to describe experienced symptoms and their severity, and explain any daily activities in which they may have incurred an injury. Doctors play close attention to posture and spinal alignment and palpate the spine by pressing their hands against your neck and backbone. He or she should also perform neurologic tests.
- Medical imagery – in many cases, to achieve a definite annular tear diagnosis, the patient may be referred to a medical imaging center for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, CT scan, X-ray, or other similar scan. These tests are usually required to identify the precise location of the annular tear and determine whether any other underlying pathology exists.
After the Diagnosis is Confirmed
If you have received an annular tear diagnosis, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about our revolutionary, outpatient endoscopic treatments. Additionally, we are happy to offer our prospective patients a complimentary review of their MRI or CT scans. Calltoday for more information or to schedule a consultation at one of our offices across America.