Sometimes a herniated disc is preceded by a smaller, more tolerable injury known as an annular tear.
An annular tear is a sort of fraying away of the outer covering of the intervertebral disc, known as the annulus. If it frays too much, you run the risk of herniating the disc. When this happens the soft, shock absorbing material inside the covering may make its way onto a nerve root. That will most likely cause pain.
An annular tear can cause pain, too.
Some things that might help reduce the pain from an annular tear are:
- Traction, (which is a physical therapy treatment). My recommendation is to not take traction upon yourself with a home unit. Home units may not be all they are chalked up to be. (Read my review of one type).
- Pain medications. From drugs prescribed by your doctor to over-the-counters, pain medication may be a short term treatment that can help you get back on your feet.
- Losing weight, if applicable.
- Core strengthening exercises, such as the basic back series.