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Leaky Disc Syndrome

Leaky disc syndrome is a term that refers to pain and symptoms caused by annular tears. When the nucleus pulposus leaks out of the spinal disc, it can cause symptoms in the lower back, legs, neck, or arms.

Patients don’t always realize that these symptoms may be connected to annular tears.

But why do annular tears cause these symptoms?

Understanding Leaky Disc Syndrome

Spinal discs play an important role in the body, including:

  • Preventing the vertebrae from rubbing against each other
  • Distributing force and stress placed on the spine
  • Ensuring that nerves around the spine don’t become pinched or compressed by the nucleus pulposus

They are also made up of two parts: the outer annulus fibrosus and the inner nucleus pulposus. Imagine the spinal disc like a jelly doughnut. The annulus fibrosus is made up of 22-25 layers of fibers that connect to the vertebrae above and below the disc. The annulus fibrosus encloses the jelly-like nucleus pulposus, which may cause irritation and inflammation if it makes contact with surrounding spinal nerves.

Unfortunately, the fibers of the annulus fibrosus may break down from daily wear and tear as a result of age or injury. This may lead to the development of tears in the outer part of the spinal disc, irritating surrounding nerves.

This is known as Leaky Disc Syndrome and may be the cause of some spine conditions, such as:

  • Disc herniation, bulges, and protrusions
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spine arthritis
  • Bone spurs