Disc Tears/Discogenic Back Pain Causes & Symptoms

Disc Tear Pain Overview Disc Tear Pain Causes & Symptoms Disc Tear Pain Diagnosis & Treatments

What Causes Disc Tears/Discogenic Back Pain?

As we age, our bodies undergo many changes. Similar gradual changes affect the spine’s structures, notably the intervertebral discs. Disc tears in the annulus can produce discogenic back pain (low back pain) that originates from a damaged, dehydrated and deteriorated vertebral disc, particularly due to degenerative disc disease (DDD). Early disc degeneration may not cause severe pain or other symptoms, but when the degeneration becomes advanced, low back pain may occur. An injury like a car accident, lifting injury, or fall can cause disc tears in the annulus and accelerate this process. Typically, discogenic pain results from activities that increase the pressure within the intervertebral disc (called intradiscal pressure). Sitting, bending forward, coughing and sneezing can increase low back discogenic pain. Leg pain caused by pinching of the nerves in the low back (called radiculopathy) may also accompany low back discogenic pain, especially while sitting, standing or walking.

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What Are The Symptoms Of A Disc Tear/Discogenic Back Pain?

When degenerative disc disease and annular tears become prevalent the following symptoms are associated with this condition:

  • Pain in the area of the tear in the low back. This pain can travel into the buttocks and thighs not usually past the patient’s knees.
  • Numbness and or tightness can be related to disc tears or bulging and
    herniated disc. If the disc bulges, extrudes or herniates into the spinal canal and compresses the spinal nerves, the patient can experience numbness in the arms or legs.
  • Weakness is a very commonly associated symptom resulting from a spinal nerve being compressed or irritated. The patient experiences weakness in their buttock, thigh, hamstrings or leg buckles and they lose control of the leg temporarily.
  • Tingling can be found in patient’s legs or feet when experiencing degenerative disc disease, annular tears or herniated disc.

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