Last Updated: 11/2/2023

Injuries that result from Des Moines car accidents can bring a lot of strife in an Iowan’s life. One of the most common types of injuries a car accident can cause is an annular tear. Take Chrissy, for example, who shared her story with Spine Health. Chrissy was in a car accident that caused multiple annular tears in her spine. After seeing multiple doctors and incurring many medical bills, Chrissy still has burning pain and arm weakness due to the annular tears from her car accident. If you or someone you love is suffering from a similar type of pain after a car accident, you will want more information about annular tears.

What is an annular tear?

According to the Spinal Research Foundation, an annular tear occurs in the intervertebral disc, which is a special type of joint between two vertebrae that provides mobility and shock absorption. The outermost part, called the annulus fibrosis, is innervated with sensory input from the sinuvertebral nerve. A tough disc, the annulus fibrosis connects the two adjacent vertebrate, acting like a ligament. An annular tear occurs in this outermost layer, the annulus fibrosis.

Trauma, like a car accident, could cause the outer annular layers of the disc to tear. The inner layer of the disc, called the nucleus pulposus, is thought to rub against the nerves in the annulus fibrosis, causing serve pain. An annual tear even could cause disc herniation. In Chrissy’s case, there was disc herniation, which meant she needed multiple surgeries to help relieve her pain.

What is the treatment for an annular tear?

Patients reporting severe lower back pain after a car accident may receive an MRI to diagnose their symptoms. If your MRI turns out like Chrissy’s, your pain may be misconstrued. Sometimes, like in Chrissy’s case, patients need another test called a discogram, which can better diagnose annular tears. MRIs might show bulging discs, but it may not show their cause.

Unless disc herniation occurs, there is no permanent solution for annular tears. The only ways to reduce suffering are visits to a chiropractor for hydrotherapy or deep tissue massage, hot or cold compresses placed on the affected area, exercise, or pain medications. Other alternatives include epidural injections or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Although surgery is an option, it is rarely considered necessary, unless discs are herniated. However, many medical professionals will call for treatments other than surgery to heal annular tears because they sometimes can heal without surgery.

Regardless of the treatment or procedure you decide on to relieve the pain caused by an annular tear, your medical bills most likely will be costly. If your annular tear was caused by a car accident that was not your fault, for example, if the other driver was negligent by driving drowsy, you may be entitled to payment from your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company. Don’t add to the pain of your annular tear; let the attorneys at Walker, Billingsley and Bair help with your car accident claim: (888) 435-9886.

Corey Walker
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With over 28 years legal experience, Corey has been recognized for his work as an injury attorney.