Even a small annular tear can cause big problems

An annular tear may be just a small tear in a spinal disc, but it can cause big problems for your daily activities.

Some people never notice that they have an annular tear, but for the people who experience the pain and symptoms that this condition can sometimes cause, this small tear is nothing to overlook. The pain of an annular tear can be both mentally and physically exhausting, causing you to miss out on the regular activities you enjoy. Things that were once easy, like walking and golfing, have now become too painful to do.

Taking the first step to find treatment

The first step to finding treatment for the pain caused by an annular tear is to schedule an appointment with your physician. Your doctor can diagnose the cause, severity and location of your condition through a series of tests, including:

  • Physical examination
  • Questions
  • Imaging (MRI or CT scan)

Once your physician gathers the necessary information, he or she can recommend a treatment option designed to treat your specific condition. Many physicians will begin with a conservative treatment recommendation, such as physical therapy or pain medication. This allows the body time to heal naturally while still curbing the symptoms of pain and discomfort.

Surgery for an annular tear

In some cases, conservative treatment does not reduce the pain and symptoms of an annular tear. This may occur when the tear in the disc is severe and the inner disc fluid is leaking into the spinal canal. In these cases, spine surgery may be your best option to find pain relief.

For patients suffering from an annular tear, Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive spine surgery designed to relieve the pain at its core cause — by removing the damaged part of the disc that is pressing on the nerve root. Our decompression surgery removes a small portion of the damaged disc, while our stabilization surgery removes the entire disc and replaces it with an artificial disc to support the spine. Many patients are able to find relief through our decompression surgery, while our stabilization surgery is used in more severe cases of disc damage.

Because of our minimally invasive approach to the spine, our patients can experience a shorter recovery time^ and a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery. To find out if you qualify for our procedures, contact our spine care specialists today and request a review of your MRI or CT scan.