High-Impact Sports and Activities Can Cause Annular Tears

Annular tears occur when the tough, exterior shell of an intervertebral disc develops a rip. In many cases, these small tears occur as result of the natural aging process, when the rings of cartilage within the discs wear down and become more prone to cracking. There is a substantial number of people, however, who develop these spinal conditions due to sports injuries.

How sports can contribute to annular tears

Twisting and bending the spine in awkward positions or while exerting a great amount of force can lead to excessive pressure on the components of the spine, but such movements are commonplace in many sports and leisure activities. Here are a few of the ways that participation in certain sports can lead to annular tears:

  • Golf – While playing hole after hole, golfers can routinely take hundreds of swings in a day, counting both practice swings and actually hitting the ball. Every swing involves quickly turning the spine in one direction to build up energy and then twisting the spine back the other way to unleash that energy. The force used to hit the ball can often end up negatively affecting the spine.
  • Gymnastics – Most gymnasts will experience lower back pain due to their taxing routines, and some of these pains are due to annular tears. Gymnasts routinely place excess pressure on their spines by bending deeply and turning during everything from tumbles to flips. And even with padded mats on the floor, a dismount landing can be tremendously jarring to the spine.
  • Football – Many football players from all levels of the sport will endure neck and back pain due to the hits that they take on the field. Between impactful tackles and hard contact with the ground, protective gear can only do so much to stave off injury. Football-related impacts can often lead to annular tears.

Minimally invasive treatments

If you have developed an annular tear due to forceful, repetitive strain exerted on your discs through sports injuries or other activities, be certain to look into your conservative treatment options. Should these options not provide satisfactory relief from your symptoms, you may wish to consider the minimally invasive spinal procedures offered by Laser Spine Institute. Contact us today for information about our procedures and to request a review of your MRI or CT scan.