The intervertebral discs are shock-absorbing cushions between each vertebra of the spine. Each disc has outer strong ring of fibres, called annulus fibroses and it has a soft jelly like centre called nucleus pulpous. The annulus is a strong disc that connects each vertebra together.
The disc has a nucleus at the centre which distributes pressure consistently across the disc. This nucleus is the centre of the disc and is hydrated and serves as the main shock absorber. The nucleus of the disc absorbs the impact of the body which is caused by daily activities and maintains the distance between two vertebrae.
If there is a lot of stress applied on the disc even as a result of sudden trauma an annular tear can occur. If there is only a torn disc and no disc is ruptured it is commonly called annular tear. Studies also say that annular tear may lead to premature degeneration of the disc and facet joints.
After the physical assessments of a person, a doctor will typically perform one or more diagnostic test to localize the likely source of pain. An MRI scan is helpful in viewing the intervertebral discs; however annular tear may not be visible during the scan. Occasionally the doctor suggests a discography test to see if the disc is truly the main cause of the pain. This process is performed under the guidance of the doctor where an x-ray is taken and also your physician assesses the disc and monitors the pain and its source at the same time.
Treatment for the annular tear normally begins with physical therapy of the patients, in the beginning with the low-impact exercises and also some pain medication, anti-inflammatory medication, and some rest. In most of the cases, the patients find tremendous relief by the combination of this treatment over the period of several weeks’ extension.