Annular tears are the underlying cause of all disc problems. Herniations, bulges, protrusions, degenerative disc disease, even spine arthritis and bone spurs are all caused by annular tears. This is why most top spine centers are feverishly attempting to develop methods to repair annular tears. Only the Discseel® Procedure repairs annular tears permanently and without surgery.
What are Annular Tears?
To understand annular tears, it’s important to understand the following:
The disc is made of two parts: the outer annulus fibrosus rings and the inner nuclues pulposus gel. These annular rings are important because they keep the inner gel inside. This is critical because when gel leaks outwards, symptoms occur. Symptoms occur because the human body perceives leaked nucleus pulposus gel as a foreign substance, causing inflammation within the disc or on the spinal nerves, which leads to sciatica and low back pain.
Surgery cannot heal tears and instead worsens them. Only the Discseel® Procedure seals and heals annular tears.
Kevin Pauza, MD, developed the Discseel® Procedure because he recognized it was well-established that fibrin heals other parts of the human body. With Pauza’s guidance, the North American Spine Society Outstanding Study Award confirmed that the Discseel® Procedure seals and heals annular tears.
Problems Associated with Annular Tears
Annular tears are the root of spine pain for many patients. The first complaint is low back pain. As disc tears progressively worsen, they leak and lead to disc herniations, bulges, degeneration and desiccation.
Some factors associated with annular tears include shear and compressive forces:
- Lifting while bending forward and twisting, or repetitive forward bending and twisting during daily activities and exercise.
- Golf, weight lifting, football, cross-fit training, and other athletic activities.
- Car accidents, slipping and falling.
Although low back pain is associated with annular tears, these tears often leak and cause chemical inflammation of the spinal nerves, causing hip and leg pain and/or numbness reaching into the feet and toes. If one has annular tears in their neck, the symptoms may refer pain in the arm and cause numbness or similar symptoms into the hands and fingers. Formally, these symptoms are called radiculopathy.
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Treatment for Annular Tears - Why the Discseel® Procedure is Optimal
Low back pain and neck pain is most often caused by the disc: specifically annular tears in the disc. Published research confirms that over 95% of the time, when a person has chronic low back or neck pain, they have three or more discs causing their symptoms, regardless of what the MRI shows or the surgeon thinks.
Patients prefer undergoing annulogram tests over discogram tests because annulograms are essentially pain-free, simple, and brief. During the test, a highly skilled spine specialist directs an almost microscopic needle into the annulus fibrosus of each disc in the symptomatic region of the low back or neck. Next, a trace amount of x-ray contrast dye combined with antibiotic, is gently injected into the annular layers with live video, watching for x-ray contrast flow through annular tears. Those tears are the precise source of underlying disc and sciatica symptoms. Finally, the precise cause of symptoms is identified within minutes. Some of those same patients may have previously suffered from unsuccessful epidurals, physical therapy, medications, even discograms and multiple surgeries.
Conservative options are often prescribed to treat symptoms, yet none have been shown to heal torn discs:
- Anti-inflammatory medications; decrease inflammation caused by leaky discs, but may hurt the kidneys and stomach
- Pain medications; opioids have the potential for developing dependency, and lose their affect over time
- Steroid Injections; the FDA warned against using epidural steroid injections to treat low back pain in 2018
- Physical therapy programs; these can teach proper body mechanics, but have no ability to regrow discs
- Low impact exercise; do them without bending forward or twisting: they help disc osmosis nourishment through gentle “up-down” forces
Conservative Treatment Options that are known to heal torn spine disc tissue:
- Discseel® Procedure: uses purified natural Fibrin, approved by the FDA for many other indications to seal and regenerate tissue. Fibrin is injected into disc tears, typically taking less than an hour, and you’ll be walking the same day. The disc continues healing over 3-12 months as you increase your activity.