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annular tears...

missquinn86mmissquinn86 Posts: 26
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Chronic Pain
Hi everyone, it's been a few months since i've been on here...my mri showed annular disc tears...didn't tell me where, or how many...anyway, just wondering if anyone could tell me what the symptoms of an annular tear are?? The pain in my thoracic is like a dull throbbing ache and sometimes it feels like a nerve has been affected...any help would be great :)


  • It will all depend on where the tears are, how large they are, how much of the more liquid disc material has escaped the disc area, where that material ended up, etc. All three of my discs were torn in half, through the annulus, left to right (or right to left). I did have some disc material putting pressure on my sciatic nerve. I also had loss of disc space between the vertebrae, because a lot of the disc material had squished out. Have your doctor go over your pictures with you and see where the problems are occurring.
    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • I have red about it that annual tear can lead to a herniated disc & it can be very painful. but sorry i cant give you any counsel, all i can say is only listen to your doctors expectantly they are good, its not unusual for many treatments to fail until a successful one is found, get a second opinion before surgery if you can. Are you on pain medication, if your pain is really bad you might want try pain medication, let us know what surgeon says if you like.
  • I had an L2/L3 annular tear- My main symptoms were persistent muscle spasms and pain with sitting. I also had a lot of referred pain out to the iliac crest. Interestingly, my pain was never centered over my spine where the actual torn disc was. This was just with the one tear though, and it took a discogram to confirm the disc was a pain generator.

    Have your doctors talked to you about a discogram to see which disc(s) are causing your pain?? If you have multiple tears it is possible that only some are actually symptomatic, so a discogram might be something to ask about. Of course, you'd only do this if contemplating some sort of treatment...There are quite a few minimally invasive disc techniques out there now, so you may talk to your doctor about what your options are- with multiple levels affected, though, I'm not sure what procedures, if any, you would be a candidate for.
  • I agree, annular tears are like herniated discs - they may or may not be the source of pain. The only way to figure out if your tears cause your symptoms is by getting a discogram (although some docs don't believe they are valid). There is even more controversy regarding what to do with a painful tear when you have one.
  • The annulus is the tougher ring around the outside of your disc. The inside is gel-like. If you tear the annulus, you've basically torn or ruptured your disc. A tear in the annulus means some of that gel-filled middle can be squished out. If the tears are bad enough (mine were) pieces of the annulus can be squished out too. All this stuff puts pressure on nerves, possibly in the area around the spinal cord. In other words, this is not good.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
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