Torn Discs while also referred to as conditions like Herniated, Ruptured and Bulging Discs, occur because of a tear in the annulus fibrosus, or outer wall of the disc. Annular Tears can result from years of wear and tear as well as natural degeneration, otherwise known as Degenerative Disc Disease. When an annular tear forms, the outer wall of the disc is torn allowing the inner jelly-like material or nucleus to spill out of its normal space and affect surrounding structures. This nucleic material is an irritant to other soft tissues and if severely herniated, may press on nearby nerves causing a number of neurological symptoms.
Types of Torn Disc
Because of how varied the severity of tears in the disc may be, patients diagnosed with torn discs may or may not experience symptoms at all. However, in most cases patients seeking treatment for pain, numbness, tingling, soreness or weakness often do so because of a problematic disc herniation. In effect, it is rare that anyone not have some form of tear in the disc, but many patients do not know that they have a tear of the intervertebral discs until it causes pain and requires treatment. Here is a little more information on the types of tears affecting the discs in the spine:
- 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. 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.
Torn Discs Diagnosis
As mentioned, torn discs do not generally warrant a visit to the doctor unless they cause some form of pain. Unfortunately, much like anywhere else in the body, symptoms present themselves after their condition has deteriorated to the point of requiring attention, meaning a visit to the doctor. Once in our office, diagnosis and treatment are fairly straight forward. Often requiring a preliminary screening of the spine’s integrity via MRI, we are able to determine whether or not the discs exhibit any form of visually identifiable deformity or damage. In conjunction with an MRI review, our doctors will perform a physical exam to identify the source of the pain as well as all subsequently affected areas including arms and/or legs.
Torn Disc Treatment
Once a torn disc has been identified as requiring treatment, we provide a variety of minimally invasive as well as traditional treatment options to best suit the patient’s needs. In most cases, should a torn disc require surgery, we recommend the least invasive and most successful surgery available to date, Deuk Laser Disc Repair. By repairing the discs in their place instead of being forced to remove them and fuse vertebrae, our doctors are able to maintain the integrity of the patient’s spine and keep the repair and healing process natural, with no bone cutting or implants.