Annular Fissures and Intervertebral Disc Decompression

By Dr. Nicholas LaHood, D.C.



A tear in the intervertebral disc is called and annular fissure and this can be symptomatic or asymptomatic.


It is suspected that local inflammatory reactions from the annulus tear or fissure lead to irritation of adjacent nerve fibers or traversing nerve roots. The mainstay of treatment for such situations is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications as well as low-impact physical therapy. The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications may help decrease the inflammatory reaction at the annular fissure which decreases stimulation or irritation of adjacent nerve fibers or traversing nerve roots. The low-impact physical therapy may help strengthen core muscles to mitigate the forces which may have originally led to the annular fissure or tear. Some have suggested local transforaminal steroid injections may alleviate the symptoms more quickly.



If symptoms progress and fail to improve, or if the patient develops weakness surgical treatment options would be considered including laminotomy, laminectomy, foraminotomy, discectomy, fusion, or some combination thereof.


We have a completely different approach that does not include surgery. Through a focused examination we will identify the disc level or levels that are damaged and producing symptoms. Biomechanically the evaluation will measure the range of motion to determine alterations in vertebral segmental function.


Altered intersegmental spinal motion will lead to a reduction of disc nutrition which will lead to a weakened disc structure and more annular tears. Understanding the underling cause of annular tears can help prevent more disc degenerative changes from occurring in the future.


Our natural approach to disc injuries is called the DRS Protocol, it is a customized protocol involving non-surgical spinal decompression to decompress, reduce and stabilize the disc levels. By reducing the size of the disc swelling we can reduce the amount of pressure on the annulus fibers and therefore reduce the inflammation occurring to the adjacent nerve tissues. This is a completely drug free way to allow your body to heal naturally from these progressive debilitating injuries.


Spinal biomechanical instabilities and restrictions will normally get worse if not corrected properly. If they get worse over time they can be harder to treat and in some cases they can get so bad that they can not be fixed. If the disc damage is to severe it may create neuroforaminal encroachment, neuroforaminal stenosis and other more permanent spinal problems.


It is difficult to perform physical therapy exercises when the range of motion creates nerve irritation and more pain. The biomechanics have to be stable and the spine aligned before exercises are recommended. This is why so many patients who start exercises with a disc injury are in more pain see little improvement. Epidural injections are designed as a temporary solution to reducing the inflammation created at the local nerve root. It is just designed to help you cope with the pain as you go about your daily activities.


If you are suffering with a spinal problem we may be able to help you. We do not accept every case we see and we can not help everyone but we have helped hundreds of people avoid back surgery. It may be worth the chance to see if we can help you.

Call 858-987-8282 to schedule you consultation and exam.

Advanced Chiropractic and Wellness Center 9932 Mercy Rd Unit 106 San Diego, CA 92129.

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