Spinal Disc Tear
Symptoms, Causes, and General Information
Spinal discs are comprised of a tough fibrous outer layer (annulus fibrosis) and a water and protein mixture (nucleus pulposus). When the fibrous outer layer undergoes a significant trauma or deteriorates due to overuse, small tears can occur causing the fluid to leak out of the disc. This is referred to as an annular tear or a disc tear. These tears can occur in both the cervical and lumbar spine. Typically, there are three distinct types of annular tears:
- Radial Tear – Caused by the aging process and may lead to herniation of the disc.
- Concentric Tear – Often caused by sudden trauma or injury to the spine.
- Peripheral Tear – Often caused by injury and may cause the disc to break down over time.
Cervical Disc Tear symptoms would include:
- Neck pain
- Weakness in the upper arm or shoulder area
- Numbness and/tingling sensation in fingers/wrist
- Having trouble gripping with hand
- Difficulty rotating neck
- The type of pain varies from dull to sharp
Lumbar Disc Tear symptoms would include:
- Lower back pain
- Sciatica (pain that radiates through the leg)
- Numbness or pain in the foot
- Numbness or pain in ankle
- Unable to stretch or extend toes
- Unable to push off with foot