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Home » Spine Conditions » Annular Tear » Annular Tear at the L5 Region of the Spine

Is surgery recommended for someone with an L5 annular tear?

Annular tear surgery is sometimes recommended to address severe discomfort caused by a damaged disc in the L5 (lumbar) region of the spine. This area, which is often referred to as the small of the back, comprises the spinal curve situated immediately above the buttocks.

Because the lower back supports much of the body’s weight and is subjected to significant wear and tear, disc degeneration is common in the L5 region. With that said, degeneration in the lumbar spine does not always cause symptoms, and when it does, those symptoms can often be treated conservatively.

When is surgery needed for an annular tear?

In general, surgery may be considered for an annular tear that is causing debilitating symptoms that have not responded well to conservative treatment. The discomfort associated with an L5 annular tear can vary widely depending on the severity of the condition, whether it has caused spinal nerve compression and other individual factors. Some common symptoms include:

  • Pain in the lower back
  • Stiffness in the spinal joints
  • Weakness in the muscles that support the spine
  • Numbness and tingling sensations in the arms or legs

A physician can help you decide if surgery is right for you

If you have been diagnosed with an L5 annular tear and are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should talk with your physician about your treatment options. After reviewing your symptoms and diagnosis, your physician can help you find an appropriate treatment plan. Many people are able to achieve sufficient relief with nonsurgical treatments such as physical therapy and pain medications. As a general rule of thumb, if your discomfort continues or worsens after several weeks of conservative treatment, you may wish to explore annular tear surgery.

USA Spine Care offers an alternative to traditional open annular tear surgery. Every year, we help thousands of patients find relief from chronic low back pain.^ We can provide you with a no-cost MRI review* to help determine if you are a candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures. To learn more, contact us today.

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