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Chronic Back Pain - Annular Tears L4/L5

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Chronic Pain
I have had increasing pain past 3 years L4/L5. Tests show annular tear with Mild degenerative disc disease. I have gone through Facet Joint injections, epidurals, PT, Acupuncture, Chiro, etc. with no help. Question is has anyone simply gotten better without back surgery (meaning I have gone 3 years and still bad should I still wait it out)? Thank you in advance for sharing anything that helps.


  • I am not sure that an annular tare will heal itself after 3 years. I have multiple annular tares and can definitely relate to how painful they are. I had an endoscopic microD and PLDD in Dec 07 for an annular tare at L3/L4. It did help with the leg pain and for that I am thankful. However I still deal with multiple tears and arthritis of my facet joints so I am still in considerable pain. Good luck and please keep us posted.
  • I injured my lower back in 2000 lifting groceries out of the floor board of my car. I have had pain every day since. At first, I was diagnosed with a bulged disc, then with DDD, now with an annular tear. I have had PT, chiro, 13 epidural blocks, numerous medications....In my opinion, this will not heal on its own.

    Sorry, I wish you all the best and hope you find relief soon.
  • I have heard in some young people, tears can heal themselves or be replaced with scar tissue. On the other hand, if the tears are too bad and the disc dries up and shrinks - troubles on its way. I had a fusion for mine - yes it helped that pain but caused others; however one thing to keep in mind if you can hang in there is stem cell research for disc "build-up" might be in the near future!
  • If the annular tear is on the inner aspect of the annulus it is unlikely to heal on its own, especially after all this time, because the blood supply is really poor. Have you had a discogram to get a better idea of what is going on in the disc? Is the disc herniated at all?

    If the disc is not herniated you may want to look into an IDET procedure. I had an annular tear that did not heal after a year, so I had IDET. It is a minimally invasive procedure where they basically melt the disc and then it scars and patches up the tear. The recovery isn't all that bad, relatively speaking. I went back to school full-time after 2 weeks, and was off all my pain medicine at 6 weeks. It really reduced my pain a lot and was very helpful...
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