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How to treat an annular disc tear

Deciding on a treatment plan for an annular tear can take a bit of time. There are many different options — each with its own set of pros and cons — so it’s best to consult with an experienced orthopedic physician who can explain what to expect from each. But, in the meantime, you might consider the following tips for treating your annular tear.

Start by focusing on conservative options

When you first get started, don’t worry about surgical treatment. There’s a decent chance that it won’t be necessary. Instead, narrow your focus to conservative therapies like over-the-counter medications, hot and cold packs and exercise. If you need further relief, you could also talk to your physician about prescription pain relievers, epidural steroid injections or a referral to a physical therapist.

Don’t rule out alternative therapies

Although alternative therapies fall outside the boundaries of traditional treatment for an annular tear, they can sometimes be helpful as well. Potential options in this category include:

  • Natural supplements
  • Chiropractic care
  • Massage therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga

Your best bet is to use alternative therapies alongside your traditional treatments, rather than as a complete replacement for them. Try various combinations for several weeks at a time and be sure to keep your physician updated as to what works the best for you. This way, your physician can further tailor your plan to your specific needs.

If you need to have surgery, consider minimally invasive procedures

Even though many people are able to manage their annular tear symptoms through conservative measures, there are some instances in which surgery is appropriate. As a general rule of thumb, if you’ve been using conservative therapies for two to three months and still haven’t seen a meaningful improvement in your discomfort, you might start thinking about surgical intervention.

One potential option that you might consider is minimally invasive surgery. Patients who are candidates for outpatient surgery at USA Spine Care can avoid the large incisions and long recovery times associated with traditional surgery.^ We can review* your MRI for free to help find out if you could benefit from our procedures. To learn more about the options we offer for annular tear treatment, contact us today.

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