This article is part of a series written by Dr. Kevin Pauza
Although there’s a strong likelihood that symptoms caused by annular tears temporarily resolve themselves within six months in most people, the annular tears themselves will never heal unless treated with fibrin sealant.
When symptoms persist beyond six months, it is classified as chronic pain. This six-month defining time is important because once the sixth month of pain is reached, it is unlikely that symptoms will improve on their own, and after this point, annular tears need to be treated or the pain will continue indefinitely.
Types of Treatment for Annular Tears
It’s important to know that conservative treatments have not been shown to resolve pain caused by annular tears. We’ll examine common conservative treatments for annular tears.
Anti-inflammatory medications. These medications are generally prescribed to decrease inflammation that is caused by leaking spinal discs, and although they may successfully treat inflammation, they cannot treat annular tears. Because of this, the spinal disc will continue to leak and continue causing inflammation. In addition to being unable to treat the annular tears, these medications can also damage the kidneys and stomach.
Pain medications. Like anti-inflammatory medications, pain medications may treat the pain caused as a result of annular tears, but they cannot treat the tears themselves. Because of this, they can require long term use, leading to dependency. In some cases, pain medications can even lose their effect over time.
Steroid Injections. This is another treatment that is unable to treat annular tears and heal them in any way, but in addition to this, the FDA warned against the use of epidural steroid injections for low back pain in 2018.
Physical Therapy Programs. While these programs are able to teach proper body mechanics, they cannot heal annular tears or regrow disc tissue, making physical therapy unable to treat annular tears and the pain caused by them.
Low-Impact Exercise. Low-impact exercise can be helpful in alleviating back pain, but if done incorrectly can actually cause further damage to spinal discs. When exercising, avoid bending forward or twisting, as these movements are the main cause of disc tearing. However, while remaining active is healthy for your back, exercise cannot treat annular tears, making it only a temporary solution.
The Discseel® Procedure
However, the Discseel® Procedure is the only conservative treatment shown to heal spine tissue damaged by annular tears. Using purified natural fibrin approved by the FDA for many other indications to seal and regenerate tissue. Fibrin is injected into disc tears, usually in less than an hour, and patients are walking within the same day. After this, the disc will continue to heal over 3-12 months as you increase your activity.
If you have back pain that has failed to be relieved by other conservative treatments, it’s time to apply for the Discseel® Procedure. Find out if you’re a candidate and start your journey toward living without back or neck pain.