Disc Tear/Discogenic Back Pain Overview
Disc Tear Or Annular Tear
A disc tear is a micro tear on the outer annulus (outer ring-like structure) of an intervertebral disc. Just like other parts of the body, each intervertebral disc has a nerve supply. Discs are comprised of two parts: the annulus fibrosus and nucleus pulposus (gel-like interior). The nucleus pulposus is void of nerves. However, the outer third of the annulus fibrosus contains nerve fibers. With trauma or normal degeneration of the spine, the disc can develop micro-tears in the outer layers of the annulus fibrosus. These tears can expose the nerve fibers in the annulus and the spinal nerve to the inner nucleus pulposus. The nerve fibers and spinal nerves can become irritated by the acidity of the inner degenerative nucleus leaking out through an annular tear thus producing a great deal of pain. Discogenic back pain is the clinical term for pain originating from a damaged vertebral disc, particularly due to degenerative disc disease. Degenerative disc disease is the natural breakdown of a spinal disc caused by the natural daily stresses and minor injuries that cause spinal discs to gradually lose water as the rigid outer shell of a disc, weakens. As discs weaken and lose water, they begin to collapse.