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Pain - Annulus Tears

cwdlaw223ccwdlaw223 Posts: 8
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Lower Back Pain
I have an 8mm herniated disc (L5-S1). One chiropractor tells me that my low back pain is caused by annulus tears in my herniated disc. Another one told me it was my sacroiliac joint. I had a shot in both without success and my back hurts all of the time.

Advil only works a little bit to help the pain before I play golf.

What can one do to deal with pain from annulus tears? I believe my first chiropractor is correct and that the low back pain comes from tears in the disc itself.

I'm not having disc replacement surgery and/or spinal fusion until I can't get out of bed and crippled with pain. My pain level is about a 2.5-5 (depending upon activity) out of 10. My pain has lasted for over a year and I'm still in relatively good shape (thus, I'm not a big advocate of physical therapy - I can throw a medicine ball over the Empire State Building with my core strength (just kidding, a little)). I have no sciatica.


  • Remember, physical therapy isn't just about strength. It is also about flexibility, and certain modalities that can reduce inflammation. Don't knock it 'til you try it!

  • First, what type of injection did you have for the disc- I'm assuming an epidural? If not, that could be one option to ask your doctor about.

    Second, I agree with HappyHBMom that physical therapy is more than just general strength. With herniated disc and annular tears specific spinal stabilizer muscles called the multifidi tend to shut down. Even when the disc recovers these muscles don't automatically fire back up. It is common to develop aberrant muscle recruitment patterns with herniated discs. Incorrect muscle recruitment can be a factor in continuing spine pain, so it may be worth your while to go ahead and get evaluated by a PT if your doctor thinks it is appropriate.

    Do you have a TENs unit? That could be helpful for pain control while you wait for this thing to heal.

    Finally, have you asked about minimally invasive disc procedures? Fusions and disc replacement aren't the only procedures that are done for herniated discs, so it's possible you could be a candidate for a less extreme, less invasive procedure.
  • Yep, what she said. Not just muscle recruitment, but muscle spasm- the muscles spasm as the body's dysfunctional effort to stabilize the spine. It is one of the main benefits of physical therapy.
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