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What You Should Know About Workplace Annular Disc Tears


A back injury can render you immobile, unable to work or perform your daily activities. The cost of recovery can also take a toll on your finances. 

Back injuries are some of the most common musculoskeletal injuries that occur on the job. And are often caused by heavy lifting, repetitive tasks, or sitting at a desk all day. A back injury can render you immobile, unable to work or perform your daily activities. The cost of recovery can also take a toll on your finances. 

Let’s take a closer look at one of the most common work-related back injuries: Annular tear.

St. Louis worker with a herniated disc

How Exactly Does an Annular Tear Happen?

Your spinal column is made up of specialized bones called vertebrae. In between these bones, there is a ligament called the spinal disc. This disc has a jelly-like substance called the nucleus pulposus that acts as a shock absorber or cushion for the spine. 

The disc has a protective layer called the annulus fibrosus, which helps keep the shock nucleus pulposus intact. An annular tear happens when the annulus fibrosus is torn, cracked, or ruptured. If the tear is big enough, the disc’s content may get into the spine, causing a herniated disc

Different Types of Annular Tears

Radial tear: This tear starts at the center of the disc and outspreads to the outer layers. It is usually caused by natural aging or doing repetitive tasks.

Transverse tear: This tear begins at the outermost part of the annulus and extends to the inner part of the disc. This is usually painful due to the many nerves in the annulus fibrosus.

Concentric tear: This occurs at the ring surrounding the innermost part of the disc. In most cases, they develop due to twisting injuries or torsional injuries.

Symptoms of Annular Disc Tears

No individual is the same. As such, the symptoms of an annular tear generally vary from one person to the next. However, the most common symptoms experienced by workers with an annular tear include:

  • Discogenic pain 
  • Radiating pain in the feet, arms, legs, or hands
  • Tingling pain in the limbs
  • Severe pain when twisting, sitting, bending, or lifting

Common Causes of Annular Tear

  • Degenerative disc disease (DDD)
  • Traumatic injuries
  • Overexertion

Seeking Compensation

An annular tear is often challenging to prove. To improve your chances of success, you’ll need strong evidence to help you establish your annular tear was caused by a work-related accident or repetitive work-related tasks. An experienced workers’ comp attorney can help you gather evidence and get the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to.

St. Louis Work Injury Attorneys

Have you suffered a work-related annular tear? The experienced St. Louis work injury attorneys at the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann are here to help. Give us a call 24/7 for a free case evaluation.

Updated: November 10, 2021
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