An annular tear is a common condition in the spine that occurs when the tough outer layer of a disc develops a tear due to constant pressure and strain.
If you are one of the millions of people who have experienced an annular tear, you should know that most of these tears can be healed by the body’s own resorption process without any additional treatments or surgery. In fact, many people with an annular tear are never aware of the condition because the annular tear does not touch a nerve to cause pain and the body heals it shortly after it forms.
The process of resorption
Resorption is the body’s natural response to heal a damaged disc in the spine. Typically, when an annular tear forms in a disc, the inner disc fluid leaks into the spinal canal. The body recognizes this inner disc fluid as not natural (as in, it is not in the proper place it belongs), and it quickly sends phagocytes — white blood cells that fight infection — to the damaged disc to absorb the inner disc fluid.
Once the inner disc fluid is resorbed into the body, the body begins to heal the disc itself. The entire resorption process can take several weeks or months. If you are experiencing pain during this process, ask your physician about other treatment options that can help reduce your pain and symptoms while your body heals itself.
Treatment options for an annular tear
The process of annular tear healing may be aided by conservative treatments such as prescription or over-the-counter analgesics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, hot/cold therapy, intermittent rest, low-impact exercise or massage. These treatments can help reduce the pressure on the damaged disc while your body is in the resorption process.
If weeks or months of these treatments do not provide pain relief, you should contact USA Spine Care for information about the surgical treatments available to you. Our minimally invasive spine surgery reduces the risk of traditional open back surgery and shortens the recovery time^ so our patients can return to their lives faster. For many patients, a minimally invasive decompression surgery is an effective way to reduce pressure on a pinched nerve in the spine. This type of surgery removes the part of the disc pressing on the nerve root causing your pain. In some cases of severe disc damage, a minimally invasive stabilization surgery may be necessary.
Our spine care specialists can review your MRI report or CT scan and determine if you are a candidate for one of our minimally invasive spine procedures. Contact us today and let us help you take the next step on your journey to wellness.