Ruptured discs are simply the presence of an annular tear in the outer wall of the intervertebral disc. They are often caused by normal disc degeneration. Ruptured discs can also be the result of injuries from playing sports or getting in an accident. Should a disc rupture, the nucleus pulposus, or shock absorbing jelly filling the center of the disc, is allowed to expand outside of its normal bounds, decreasing the overall effectiveness of the disc’s ability to absorb the load of the spine.
Types of ruptured disc
Once a disc has ruptured, the subsequent treatment is straight forward, but will vary by tear. Treatment involves removing the herniated material and allowing proper healing. The reason or reasons for the tear, however, are much less clear. Often a product of multiple tears, ruptured discs can occur from a number of different kinds of annular tears.
- Typically caused due to injury, concentric tears affect the disc by creating separation in the lamellae or membrane layers protecting the disc.
- Peripheral tears, while similar in orientation to concentric tears, occur on the outside of the disc and are not limited to separation of membrane layers. They are frequently known to cause disc degeneration.
- Spanning the height of the disc and extending from the center outward, radial tears occur naturally with aging and are the most common cause of disc herniation in patients.
A physician can provide more information about different types of tears and how to treat them.
Ruptured disc diagnosis
Patients suffering from ruptured discs most commonly find their condition identified with an MRI. Ruptured discs often exhibit signs of degeneration which may include deformed centers, dehydration and nucleic spillage into the spinal cavities surrounding the disc. Doctors usually follow with a physical exam. Our doctors are able to determine the severity of discomfort and pain in relation to the suspected disc. They also determine an appropriate course of action in relieving discogenic pain.
Ruptured disc treatment
Once a disc is suspected for causing pain or discomfort, treatment can begin. Beginning with a series of conservative management techniques, we will attempt to aid the disc in self repair through non-surgical means. Should conservative management prove ineffective or the disc pain becomes overwhelming, our team of doctors will proceed with interventional pain management or surgery.
Are you or a loved one experiencing back pain or other symptoms? Deuk Spine Institute is always accepting new patient inquiries. To learn more about ruptured discs, contact us or give us a call at 1-800-FIX-MY-BACK.