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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Welcome to the board.

What happens with disc protrusion and annular tear is that the tear which is located in the outer layer of the disc allows a situation where disc material leaks out from the disc. This can cause a chemical reaction when it comes in contact with other surrounding tissue such as the spinal nerve root.

In addition, disc matter protrudes from the disc space so it creates a situation where it is taking up valuable space that is needed for the spinal nerve to function normally. In your case, according to this report, the protrusion is on the right side and it is protruding into the neuroforaminal opening (opening located at each vertebral segment that allows spinal nerve to exit the spine to go out to the area of the body it innervates. When "something" like disc matter gums up this opening, the result is a nerve that cannot function normally. This leads to the pain and symptoms we associate with nerve pain.)

It is a combination of the annular tear and protruding disc that is causing your symptoms.

Conservative treatment for this might include a course of physical therapy, oral medications, and a series of epidural steroid injections given to ease inflammation and help with pain. It is important to avoid bending or twisting at the waist, lifting anything that weighs more than a gallon of milk, etc.

It is important to not take to your bed, but to engage in some gentle activity such as walking. It is possible for a disc problem like this to heal but it can take months. Once healed it will be important to keep the muscles of the back and core strong and balanced.

My husband had a similar disc protrusion at the same level over 20 years ago. It healed and he has never required further treatment...however, he is very disciplined and does his back exercises faithfully...every day! Many people in the same position gradually stop with the exercises as soon as they feel back to normal...and eventually the disc reherniates or the annulus tears again.

Good luck to you! Hope you are through the worst of it!

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