An annular tear describes a rip in the outer layer, or annulus fibrosus, of the flexible discs that cushion the vertebrae in the spinal column. While this isn’t necessarily a painful condition, it can cause local irritation as well as radiating symptoms that can seriously disrupt your quality of life, including your ability to get a good night’s sleep.
Tips for getting a good night’s sleep if you have an annular tear
It is possible for an annular tear to improve with time and proper treatment, especially if you are proactive about working with your doctor to develop an effective care plan. If this condition is affecting you at night, here are some ways to improve the quality of your sleep:
- If you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medication, give yourself enough time for the medication to take effect before going to bed.
- Dim the lights as you get closer to bedtime, and when you do go to bed, sleep in a totally dark room.
- Take a hot shower or use a heating pad to relax muscles that have become tense throughout the day.
- Sleep on a supportive mattress — a medium firmness is often recommended — and try to stay in a position that minimizes stress on the spine. Patients with neck pain often use a special cervical pillow to support the upper spine.
Although pain related to an annular tear can make it difficult, getting a good night’s sleep is an essential part of your overall health and wellness. Doing everything you can to improve the quality of your sleep can help promote the healing process and leave you more rested to focus on treatment during the day.
Treatment for annular tears
With time, proper treatment and focusing on a healthy lifestyle, many people diagnosed with an annular tear find that the condition can improve and heal. Rest, massage, over-the-medication, hot and/or cold therapy and physical therapy are often recommended and can help improve pain while the progress of the disc tear is being monitored.
If pain and other symptoms become unmanageable and have stopped responding to conservative treatments, spine surgery can become a serious consideration. If you are in this situation, reach out to the caring team at USA Spine Care. We are the leaders in minimally invasive spine surgery and have helped thousands of patients find relief at our outpatient centers across the United States.
If you’d like to find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures, ask for your free MRI review* when you speak with us.