For patients who have developed an annular tear, healing time will vary from person to person. The process of resorption – a chemical breakdown of torn or extruded intervertebral disc material before it is resorbed by the body – could take anywhere from several weeks to a year. However, it is possible to manage your symptoms while the healing process takes place. Work with your physician to develop a treatment plan, which could include pain medication, hot-cold therapy, massage, intermittent rest and low-impact exercise. All of these treatments can help you maintain healthy circulation while the disc repairs itself.
Exercises for an annular tear
While you could be tempted to stay immobile during the annular tear repair process, it is in your best interest to be active. Otherwise, you run the risk of developing stiff joints, weakened muscles and a less-effective immune system – all of which are factors that can be detrimental to disc resorption. Some low-impact exercises that you could try under a physician’s supervision include:
- Walking or hiking
- Swimming or other forms of hydrotherapy
- Using an elliptical trainer
- Strengthening your core muscles with a therapy ball
- Working your leg muscles on a recumbent stationary bike
When does surgery become an option?
About 90 percent of patients with annular tears will not need surgery, while the remaining 10 percent can seek more targeted treatment options when other methods have proven ineffective. For these patients, there is Laser Spine Institute. We offer a variety of minimally invasive procedures that can help you find relief from neck and back pain. Our orthopedic surgeons specialize in procedures that are more effective alternatives to traditional, highly invasive annular tear surgery. Contact Laser Spine Institute today for more information, or for a free review of your MRI or CT scan.