As the body ages, the intervertebral discs in the spine can experience micro-tears or annular tears on the outer ring-like structure, otherwise known as a torn disc. This is a natural process caused by gradual changes over time that result in weakened tissues. Many older adults may be prone to developing a torn disc as they age, which can lead to impaired biomechanics and increased pain and discomfort associated with spinal movement.
In addition, a torn disc can also lead to compression of nerve roots as well as other symptoms related to reduced mobility and stability of affected vertebrae. Early signs of disc degeneration may not manifest serious symptoms at first; however, they should still be addressed promptly in order to prevent further health complications.
Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) is a progressive spinal condition that can cause ongoing and difficult-to-manage pain, making it imperative for those affected to accurately pinpoint the underlying cause of their symptoms. DDD occurs when the intervertebral discs in the spine become damaged due to excess wear and tear, leading to a decrease in disc fluid and a loss of flexibility.
Bone spurs, though initially an innocuous response to inflammation, can lead to annular tears if they protrude into the disc space. Simply put, as the joint becomes inflamed for any number of reasons, bony knobs known as 'bone spurs' can form along the endplates of our bones in response. Stress caused by this type of physical change can create further inflammation and increase blood flow to the area, producing more tissue and potentially allowing for a tear in the fibrous annulus that surrounds each disc.
Traumatic injuries can occur in various forms. From hard impacts during physical sports to vehicular collisions and unintentional falls, the force of these events can cause instantaneous damage to a spinal disc and result in an Annular Tear. Annular Tears involve physical damage such as cracking, splitting, or complete tearing of the spinal disc due to the abrupt force from the traumatic event.
Annular tears can also be a result of excessive physical activities that involve repetitive and heavy lifting. Occupations such as sports, nursing, or construction are especially at risk of incurring this type of injury. Overuse of the back is a serious issue, as many become unaware when the ailment starts to manifest, exacerbating the damage done.
Collagen is an essential component of the annulus, providing it with strength and tensile strength to withstand wear and tear. Genetics plays a role in determining the quality and quantity of collagen produced, which can make certain individuals more prone to developing annular tears.
A torn disc is a common cause of back pain, as the annular tear in the outer layer of the intervertebral disc can then expose the nerve fibers to irritation and inflammation. It is important to understand that discs are composed of two parts - the annulus fibrosus and nucleus pulposus - where the latter acts as a cushion and shock absorber. Though typically caused by a combination of aging and trauma, a torn disc can be extremely painful when it exposes nerve fibers in the annulus to both the inner nucleus pulposus and spinal nerves. The severity of symptoms will vary depending on where such a tear occurs, though just like with any other type of injury, immediate treatment should be sought if any level of discomfort is experienced.
Chiropractic treatment is a great option for people who suffer from an annular tear. Chiropractic techniques focus specifically on spinal manipulation, improving posture, and stabilization of the spine to alleviate pain and inflammation in the affected area. Soft tissue massage can also be used to increase blood flow, reduce nerve compression and promote healing. Other unique chiropractic techniques include ultrasound therapy, electric stimulation, exercise, and stretching, which can enhance the range of motion and reduce tightness in the surrounding muscles. With skilled chiropractors fully equipped to provide evidenced-based treatments tailored to each patient, it's no wonder why so many individuals are now turning to alternative methods like chiropractic care when looking for relief from an annular tear.
Spinal Disc tears, which can often result from both gradual wear and tear as well as sudden, traumatic injuries, are one of the most common causes of low back or neck pain. Belden Village Chiropractic and Wellness Center is a leading provider of care for spinal disc tears, helping patients reduce discomfort and improve their overall quality of life. Our offices use advanced technology and comprehensive treatments to create comprehensive plans that meet each patient's individual needs and conditions. We take pride in our ability to help those suffering from annular tears, enabling them to return to the activities they love.