Annular Tears What You Need to Know greater life chiropractic.

Annular Tears: What You Need to Know

When it comes to back pain, you may assume that you slept in a bad position or somehow pulled a muscle, but one often overlooked cause is an annular tear. These tears can be caused by a range of factors, especially aging and stress. They may be hard to identify, but a Charlotte chiropractor can help diagnose this issue and guide you on a path to healing.

What Is an Annular Tear?

The spine is composed of bones called vertebrae, and between each vertebra is a disc that acts as a cushion and shock absorber. These discs have a tough outer layer called the annulus fibrosus; an annular tear occurs when there is a tear in this outer layer, allowing the inner gel-like substance of the disc to leak out. This leakage can irritate the nearby nerves and lead to significant pain that hinders quality of life.

Annular tears can be caused by various factors. As we age, the discs in our spine naturally degenerate, making them more prone to tears. Injuries from accidents or falls can also lead to annular tears, as can activities that involve heavy lifting or twisting motions.

Symptoms of Annular Tears

Identifying an annular tear can be challenging as its symptoms often mimic other spinal issues. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain in the lower back or neck, depending on the location of the tear. This pain can be sharp or dull and may worsen with certain movements or positions.
  • Pain that radiates to the buttocks, thighs, or down the legs
  • Numbness or tingling sensations in the limbs.
  • In severe cases, a noticeable weakness in the muscles of the affected area

If you notice any of these symptoms, a professional diagnosis can help determine the exact cause and extent of any issues. A thorough examination, which may include imaging tests such as MRI or CT scans, can help confirm or rule out an annular tear.

How Chiropractic Adjustments Can Help

If tests show that you do have an annular tear, chiropractic care is a non-invasive approach that is effective at managing the pain and discomfort, as well as encouraging healing.

Chiropractors like Dr. Grant Lisetor will address tears by performing spinal adjustments designed to realign the spine, reducing pressure on the affected disc and nerves. This can alleviate pain and improve mobility due to the tear.

Spinal adjustments focus on restoring proper alignment to the spine, which can reduce inflammation and promote natural healing, avoiding the need for future treatments like surgery. By addressing misalignments, these adjustments help in alleviating the pain caused by annular tears. Regular chiropractic care can also enhance overall spinal health, potentially preventing future injuries and promoting long-term wellness.

There Is Relief from Annular Tears

If you’re suffering from back pain and worry you might have an annular tear, don’t wait to seek help. At Greater Life Chiropractic, we will design a personalized care plan to help you find relief and avoid future issues. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can help!


Brown, M.N. “Annular Tear or Fissure: The Great Masquerader.” Polyclinic Rehabilitation Institute.

Trager, R.J., Daniels, C.J., Perez, J.A., Casselberry, R.M., Dusek, J.A. “Association between chiropractic spinal manipulation and lumbar discectomy in adults with lumbar disc herniation and radiculopathy: retrospective cohort study using United States’ data.” BMJ Open, 2022; 12(12): e068262.