Preventing and treating an annular fissure

An annular fissure is another term for an annular tear, which is a small tear or rip in a spinal disc.

This condition is actually very common because it is often caused by the natural deterioration of the spine. As we age, the components of the spine are subjected to wear and tear from repetitive bending, flexing and twisting. Years of weight gain also contribute to the development of degenerative spine conditions because the extra weight adds pressure to the discs and the vertebrae that make up the spine.

Understanding what causes the spine to endure excess pressure and wear and tear can help you avoid some lifestyle choices that can increase your risk of developing an annular tear.

Preventing an annular fissure

While there are certain risk factors for an annular fissure that you cannot avoid, like the natural aging of the spine, there are some lifestyle choices you can make to improve the overall health of your spine and possibly prevent an annular tear. These choices include:

  • Eating well. A proper diet helps prevent obesity, a condition that forces the vertebrae and discs to support more weight than they are designed to carry.
  • Staying active. An active lifestyle with a physician-approved exercise plan helps the discs retain water and keeps the muscles in the neck and back strong. This, in turn, improves spinal stability by allowing the muscles to help support the body’s weight.
  • Modifying activities to avoid back stress. If there are particular exercises or activities that seem to trigger back pain, avoid those activities if possible. It also makes sense to use proper technique when lifting heavy objects — emphasizing the legs rather than the back muscles — and when participating in high-impact sports.

Treating an annular fissure

If you are not able to prevent the development of an annular fissure, contact the spine care specialists at Laser Spine Institute. We want to help you understand your treatment options so you can make a confident decision about your spine care needs.

For patients who require spine surgery to treat an annular fissure, we offer minimally invasive spine surgery that is a clinically appropriate alternative to traditional open back surgery.^ Our minimally invasive decompression surgery, which is often used to treat annular tears, removes a small portion of the damaged disc from the pinched nerve. In some cases where a severe annular tear is present, a stabilization surgery may be necessary to replace the damaged disc with bone grafts.

For more information about our minimally invasive spine surgery and the treatment options available for an annular fissure, contact Laser Spine Institute today. We will be happy to provide you with a free MRI review* to determine whether you are a potential candidate for our procedures.