ANNULAR TEARS

Annular tears are the underlying cause of most disc problems. Herniations, bulges, protrusions, degenerative disc disease, even spine arthritis and bone spurs are all caused by annular tears. This is why most top spine centers are currently studying methods to repair annular tears. Only the Discseel® Procedure repairs annular tears permanently and without surgery.

Your spinal discs are made up of two parts: the outer annulus fibrosus rings and the inner nucleus pulposus gel. the annulus fibrosus rings are important because they keep the nucleus pulposus contained. This is critical because when tears occur within the annulus fibrosus rings, the nucleus pulposus leaks out. Your body perceives this as a foreign substance, causing inflammation within the disc or on the spinal nerves that can lead to issues like sciatica and low back pain.

Many well known spine centers are attempting to repair annular tears using staples, plugs, or chemical glues. Instead of these artificial and surgical methods, Dr. Kevin Pauza patented and utilizes fibrin sealant, the most logical solution to seal and heal annular tears. Dr. Pauza recognized that it was well established that fibrin heals other parts of the human body.

With Dr. Pauza’s guidance, the North American Spine Society Outstanding Study Award confirmed that the Discseel® Procedure seals and heals annular tears. 

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms concerning your lumbar spine may be located in your low back because of the disc’s internal nerves, or in your leg because of the disc leaking onto adjacent spinal nerves (Leaky Disc Syndrome). Prolonged sitting or standing often worsens symptoms. Symptoms concerning your cervical spine may refer to the neck, between the shoulder blades, arms, hands and fingers. 

DIAGNOSIS

Dr. Pauza has observed that physicians unintentionally mislead patients by stating a patient’s diagnosis through their MRI results. Published research confirms that when a person has chronic low back or neck pain, they usually have three or more discs causing their symptoms, regardless of what MRI may show. Even the best MRIs can’t identify annular tears because annular tears are paper thin and each disc has 22-25 annular layers.

Dr. Pauza has simple, specific tests that can pinpoint your pain source. 

TREATMENT

Although there’s a strong likelihood that symptoms caused by annular tears temporarily resolve within six months in most people, the annular tears never heal unless treated with fibrin sealant. it’s also important to note that most conservative treatments have not been shown to resolve chronic spine pain. This includes epidurals, physical therapy, or chiropractic treatment. Symptoms will persist until the underlying cause, the annular tear, is healed.

Conservative options that are often prescribed to treat symptoms, yet none have been shown to heal torn discs:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications: decrease inflammation caused by leaky discs, but may hurt the kidneys and stomach.
  • Pain medications: opioids can potentially cause dependency and lose their effect over time.
  • Steroid injections: the FDA warned against using epidural steroid injections to treat low back pain in 2018.
  • Physical therapy programs: this can teach proper body mechanics, but cannot heal or regrow discs.
  • Low impact exercise: do this without bending forward or twisting; helps disc osmosis by nourishment through gentle “up-down”force.

Conservative treatment options that have been proven to heal annular tears:

  • The Discseel® Procedureusing purified natural fibrin, approved by the FDA to seal and regenerate tissue. Fibrin is injected into disc tears, typically taking less than an hour, and patients may be up and walking within 24 hours. The disc will continue to heal over 3-12 months as you increase your activity. In comparison, surgery cannot heal discs and none are truly minimally invasive.