You could be surprised to learn that the majority of patients who experience an annular tear, also called a herniated or ruptured disc, will be able to manage their symptoms nonsurgically until the disc heals on its own. With a variety of conservative treatments, such as pain medication and physical therapy, the gel-like center that extrudes through the tear, also the culprit behind painful neural compression, will be resorbed by the body. To learn about the tools used to diagnose this condition as well as the next steps to ease your pain and discomfort, read the following article.
Annular tear diagnostic tools
In order to confirm a diagnosis and give you a proper annular tear prognosis, in addition to an appropriate treatment plan, your physician can conduct one or more of the following tests:
- Physical examination. Your physician will inquire about your medical history and ask for an account of the location, cause and severity of your symptoms. Physicians may also use their hands to examine the body in order to locate spinal abnormalities or areas of inflammation.
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). This is an image of the body’s internal tissues produced by magnetic radio frequency waves. An MRI is extremely accurate and produces no ionizing radiation.
- CT (Computed Tomography). This is a 3-D image of your body produced by a series of 2-D X-ray images. Tomography refers to a type of image that captures a cross-section of the body with radiation.
After your annular tear prognosis
Annular tear healing time will vary from person to person. If your condition does not heal after several weeks or months of conservative treatments and medical imaging has shown no reduction in the size of your annular tear, your physician could suggest that you consider surgery. USA Spine Care offers a variety of minimally invasive procedures that are safer and effective alternatives to traditional open spine surgery.^ Contact us today to learn more about the advantages of our outpatient procedures.
Since 2005, we have helped thousands of patients find lasting relief from their chronic neck or back pain, earning us a patient satisfaction score of 98.^ Our highly skilled surgeons use a small incision that is muscle sparing in order to remove part or all of the damaged disc that is pressing against the spinal nerve and potentially replace the disc with an artificial one, depending on the severity of your condition. Ask our team for a free MRI review* to learn if you are a candidate for our procedures.