A lumbar annular tear most commonly occurring at L4/L5 or L5/S1, may progress to a herniated disc. A lumbar annular tear may result from degenerative disc disease. When an annular tear occurs, the gel-like inner disc material may push through the tear in the outer wall and extrude into the spinal canal. Annular tears often occur as part of the natural aging process as the disc loses water content, and becomes thinner and brittle over the years, potentially deforming and herniating.
Symptoms of a Lumbar Annular Tear
Interestingly, multiple annular tears may be asymptomatic. Each may give rise to disc herniation. Multiple herniated discs at various levels of the spine may coexist and remain asymptomatic. Symptoms arise when the inner disc material pushes through an annular tear and places pressure on a nearby spinal nerve, or the spinal cord itself. These symptoms can include:
Treatment for a Lumbar Annular Tear
Annular tears usually heal on their own. Therefore your doctor will likely recommend a conservative treatment plan to assist healing and help manage your symptoms while healing occurs. Treatment options can include exercise, physical therapy, hot/cold therapy, massage, and more. However, some patients simply cannot find relief through conservative treatments; instead turn to elective back surgery. If you’ve failed to find relief from your pain and other symptoms after weeks or months of conservative treatment, contact Laser Spine Institute today. Our specialists perform a variety of innovative, endoscopic, minimally invasive surgical procedures which are alternatives to open back surgery. These safe, effective procedures have helped tens of thousands of patients recover their spinal health without classical open neck or back surgery. .