Tyler is a 26 year old who came to the emergency room recently with severe lower back and leg pain that began a few weeks ago.
His MRI showed a small tear in the lowest disc in the back.
Annular tears are a common cause of low back pain. I think the injury is a precursor to disc herniation and degenerative disc problems.
Here are a few things patients can do to recover:
1. Try to stay active and maintain good posture.
2. Consider ways to improve nutrition.
3. Engage family, friends, and co-workers to help with the recovery.
4. Seek care from physical therapy and a good chiropractor.
5. Short term use of pain medication such as narcotics and muscle relaxants is probably ok, but should be limited to just a few days.
6. If needed a pain doctor can help, especially with the leg symptoms which are likely caused by inflammation from the disc.
7. Surgery is only done in select cases with severe symtoms after many months or more of comprehensive non-surgical care.
Disclaimer: Although this is a real patient, I have used a different name for privacy protection and added a few details for educational purposes. This patient gave consent to have his case shared.