A disc tear is a condition that typically occurs when a vertebral disc suffers significant trauma. The harder outer layer of the disc tears and the gel-like core of the disc bulges out, which can cause disc herniation. Disc tears are often the result of injury and stress and are most common in the lower back or neck.

How do I know if I have a disc tear?

A disc tear or multiple, disc tears are more often experienced when your vertebral discs are already weak because of aging or other spine conditions, like degenerative disc disease.

A torn disc generally results in pain around the affected area and sometimes in the extremities. You may also experience the following symptoms, depending on the exact location of the torn disc:

• Tingling
• Numbness
• Loss of reflexes
• Your disc tear may progress if you do not undergo treatment, and can eventually result in a completely herniated disc.

What is the right treatment for me?

Most of our patients at Alexander Bone and Spine Institute have seen success with more conservative treatments, including physical therapy, pain medication, steroid injections, and hot and cold therapy.

If your condition worsens, the torn disc could result in a herniated disc, for which further treatment might be recommended. Your specialist might consider a discectomy, in which the damaged portion of the disc is removed, or a disc replacement.

It is not often that Dr. Alexander recommends surgery to relieve symptoms for torn discs. If you’d like to discuss possible treatments and the best course of action to relieve your pain, make an appointment with us at Alexander Bone and Spine Institute – we look forward to helping you!

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