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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