All You Need To Know About Annular Fissure

This condition occurs when the fibers of the annulus, the outer covering of the intervertebral disc, break or separate. In contrast to annular tears, annular fissures are typically wear-and-tear conditions that occur over time rather than trauma-induced conditions. If you have an annular fissure, there are ways in which you can improve your quality of life. An annular fissure is caused by changes in your spine caused by aging. Sometimes, it can cause back pain, but it usually does not cause symptoms. 

If you are experiencing pain or other symptoms that need to be managed, you should make some lifestyle changes, begin exercising that strengthens your back, or seek medical care from your provider. It is essential to become aware of how you go about your daily activities and to rectify problems such as poor posture to reduce the risk of an annular fissure.

Annular Fissure Causes

Annular fissures, often known as annular tears, can be identified and diagnosed by healthcare providers under the causes of wear and tear.

A sudden trauma or one-off injury may cause annular fissures. These incidences may result in separation or breakage of fibers associated with the bones. However, the cracks are mainly caused due to degenerative changes in the disc that aggravate with time. These changes can also cause degeneration in other parts of the body, whereas spinal bones are affected the most.

When discussed as an underlying reason behind an annular fissure, wear, and tear are connected to your routine living habits. It involves all your movements while you sit, climb stairs, stand, walk, and perform other everyday activities. You might ignore and carelessly perform regular activities without paying attention to them.

Potential Complications

The annular fissure may also accompany other medically complicated conditions involving the following.

  • Coccygeal syndrome
  • Neurological and motor disabilities
  • Medullary syndrome of the CONUS
  • Neurological sensory deficiencies
  • If the patient is observing paralysis, he may also observe deep vein thrombosis
  • Bedsores and atelectasis
  • Urinary infections


When you plan to visit the doctor immediately if you’re having severe back pain, the healthcare experts will determine the cause. Different diagnostic treatments are available to identify the condition if you suffer from an annular tear or any other disease, like spinal stenosis or facet joint disorder, that leads to discomfort in the lower back.

An MRI is an excellent way to diagnose annular fissures and might be the first thing your healthcare provider may ask you to do. However, not all annular tears are identified by an MRI; in some cases, you may also be recommended to try a CT discogram. This technique involves using a liquid dye injection into the disc that is observed on the CT scan. The injected dye will be compared with the disc, and if there are any tears, they will be spotted.

Annular Tear Treatment

After diagnosing an annular tear, your physician or pain physicians in Dallas may recommend a treatment plan, including conservative and non-surgical treatment techniques, to relieve your pain and manage the symptoms. Non-surgical treatments do not eliminate the underlying condition; they decrease the painful symptoms to provide relief.

Non-Surgical Treatment

The most common conventional treatment options for an annular tear are as follows:

Stretching neck and back

  • Over-the-counter or prescription pain medication
  • Chiropractic care
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Physical therapy
  • Massage therapy to enhance spinal alignment
  • Surgical Treatment

While some individuals find relief from painful symptoms with conservative treatments, others may find that their conditions become worse with time and start to affect their high quality of life. In this condition, where the symptoms have not improved or worsened despite many months of conservative management, your healthcare experts may ask you to consult a spine surgeon for decisions related to surgical intervention.

How to Heal From Annular Fissure

Your routine activity performance may participate unintentionally to be the reason behind the annular fissure development. Fixing your daily activities and body postures can prevent an annular fissure. Hence, it can be a smooth process. For example, strengthening your core and back muscles can decrease the pressure on the spine and prevent annular fissures.

Practicing proper body posture, maintaining an average weight that improves your health, proper techniques for lifting heavy objects correctly, and avoiding smoking are also mandatory to protect your spine. It requires time and courage, but adjusting poor body posture and body mechanics can significantly help.

 The focus is to improve joint health and overall body alignment, which helps to prevent and treat an annular fissure. 

Activities you may practice and try include: 

  • Walking
  • Yoga
  • Somatic exercises 
  • Tai chi
  • Strength training
  • Pilates classes
  • Feldenkrais Method or Alexander Technique

These activities improve muscle strength and joint alignment—essential prevention strategies recommended by the physical therapists at pain management in Dallas when collaborating with people who require support for spinal problems. 


The causes, symptoms, and treatment options for annular fissures, or disc tears, can be significant causes of pain and discomfort. Understanding these factors is imperative for effective management. To alleviate symptoms and improve your quality of life, seeking medical advice and following a personalized treatment plan is essential regardless of whether you opt for non-surgical treatments or require surgical intervention. Consulting with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment is necessary.