Three tips for making annular tear treatment as effective as possible

In a nutshell, the goal of annular tear treatment is to alleviate the pain, muscle weakness and numbness that often accompany the condition. Many people are able to achieve this through conservative measures, such as taking medications, applying hot or cold compresses or working with a physical therapist. If you’re wondering how you can make your own treatment as effective as possible, consider the following tips.

Try using several options at once

While the different types of annular tear treatment can be effective on their own, developing a comprehensive plan that incorporates several options is usually the best approach. There are many options to mix and match, but consider choosing one pain relief medication (such as ibuprofen, aspirin or naproxen), one exercise-based treatment (physical therapy sessions can be individualized to your specific needs) and one option for breakthrough pain (heat therapy, cold therapy, epidural injections, pain patches and ultrasound treatment all have potential).

Consider complementary and alternative medicine

Sometimes, adding in treatment options that fall outside the bounds of traditional medicine can provide additional pain relief. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) includes options such as yoga, chiropractic care, therapeutic massage and aromatherapy, all of which may help alleviate pain caused by an annular tear.

If surgery is necessary, evaluate all your options

Conservative annular tear treatment is adequate for many people. However, in cases of severe discomfort or symptoms that persist despite nonsurgical treatment, an operation may be recommended.

Open annular tear surgery is one option, although some patients may be able to consider the minimally invasive procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute as safer and effective alternatives.^ If nonsurgical treatment has not been as effective as you’d hoped, you can contact Laser Spine Institute to find out if you’re a candidate for our minimally invasive outpatient procedures.