Annular tear — alternative treatments

An annular tear is a rip in the outer layer of a spinal disc caused by degenerative disc disease or other spine condition. While not always painful, annular tears can cause local irritation and nerve compression that results in radiating symptoms.

Living with chronic neck or back pain can prevent you from living the lifestyle you enjoy. Simple tasks like cleaning or walking the dog may become unnecessarily difficult or, in some cases, impossible to complete due to the debilitating pain of an annular tear in your disc. If you have found yourself missing out on hobbies in life due to neck or back pain, then it’s time for you to start researching the treatment options available to you for neck and back pain.

Many patients associate treatment for neck or back pain with spine surgery. In fact, many patients with a degenerative spine condition such as an annular tear find effective relief through nonsurgical treatments. Your doctor will determine the location and severity of your condition and use that information to recommend the best treatment options for your needs.

Types of alternative treatment for an annular tear

Many times, patients diagnosed with an annular tear are recommended to undergo conventional conservative treatments, such as physical therapy, medication, hot and/or cold compression or lifestyle changes like weight loss and exercise. The purpose of these treatments is to relieve pain while also reducing the pressure on the vertebrae so the damaged disc can begin to heal and repair.

Conservative treatments can often be combined with other therapies and medications to further reduce your pain and symptoms. Although outside of the medical mainstream, some patients also the following treatments to your physical therapy or recommended lifestyle changes:

  • Herbal medications — there is evidence that some natural remedies have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Massage therapy — to improve spinal alignment and relax the supporting musculature
  • Yoga or meditation — to relax the neck and back and relieve stress through focusing on the body and breathing
  • Acupuncture — to stimulate different areas of the body through the use of thin needles

When attempting any of these treatments, work with your primary care doctor to ensure they are compatible with any other treatments you are attempting.

More advanced treatment options

While many patients find relief from conservative and alternative treatments for an annular tear, they don’t work for everyone. If you find yourself still in pain after several months of nonsurgical therapy, we encourage you to reach out to the spine care experts at Laser Spine Institute.

We perform minimally invasive spine surgery to treat annular tears and other spine conditions on an outpatient basis. Our minimally invasive procedures offer a safer and effective treatment alternative to traditional open back or open neck surgery, and our patients experience a shorter recovery time.^

For more information about the benefits of our minimally invasive procedures, please contact and request a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.