Disc Tear

A disc tear usually happens when there is a combination of disc degeneration and trauma to a vertebral disc. When a disc tear occurs the inner disc material pushes into the tear creating a form of disc herniation. Occasionally the material will pass completely through the outer layer of the vertebral disc leading to a full disc herniation. Because a disc tear usually requires some form of trauma they are most commonly found in the neck or lower back. This is not to say that they could not be found anywhere in along the spine, just that it would be very rare.

Disc Tear
Disc Tear

How Do I Know if I Have a Disc Tear?

Symptoms of a disc tear include pain in the area of the damaged disc, along with pain, numbness, tingling, and loss of reflexes in the affected extremities. If you suffer from a torn disc in the neck you will feel symptoms in your shoulder and arm, while if your disc tear is in your lower back, symptoms will be felt in your lower extremities. Symptoms will worsen as the torn disc condition advances, eventually leading to full symptoms of a herniated disc.

Do you have any of these symptoms and think you may be suffering from disc tear? We have a quick and easy tool to help gather some information from you to help us determine what your problem is and get you on the road to recovery.

What is the Right Treatment for Me?

Treatment of a disc tear usually involves some rest and relaxation, anti-inflammatory medications, and heat and ice therapy. If allowed to progress the condition may require physical therapy to be brought under control. Only once conservative treatments have been exhausted should surgery be considered.

Orthopedic and Laser Spine Surgery provides a wide range of disc tear treatment options. Our spinal doctors are experienced in treating conditions unable to be performed by many other practices.

The real question is: What treatment is best to treat your disc tear? Use our Treatment Match tool to quickly get started in finding the right treatment for you.

Frequently Asked Questions About Disc Tears

Can a disk tear heal itself?

Usually, a torn disc will heal on its own after a few weeks to a month. So, most doctors recommend non-surgical treatment methods such as a heating and cooling pad to ease the pain or light exercise to make your back stronger. If the pain persists for months and becomes chronic, surgery may be an option.

What are symptoms of disc tears?

Symptoms of disc tears include pain, numbness, or tingling in the affected area. If your disc tear is in the neck, you may feel pain in your shoulder or arm, while a disc tear in your lower back will show symptoms between your hips and toes. Symptoms may become worse over time, potentially leading to a herniated disc.

How are disc tears diagnosed?

MRIs are the best tools to diagnose a torn, slipped, or ruptured disc. An MRI uses magnetic fields and radio-frequency waves to create an image of the spine to reveal the details of the disc, the nucleus, and the annulus. A doctor may also conduct a myelogram, which is usually followed by a CT scan.


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