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Pain Management

Annular Tears and Vehicle Accidents

12/15/2008

Question:

I was involved in a car accident in 2004 and I sustained many injuries. Most of my injuries healed except for my back. I was diagnosed with a degenerated disk disease and annular tears. Before my vehicle accident I had minor back pain. When I had a chiropractic adjustment I was better for a long while. Can trauma cause a degenerate disk disease and annular tears?

Answer:

While DDD and annular tears have been described following MVA, no controlled studies have looked at whether the DDD was there before the accident. Certainly, a MVA would exacerbate pre-existing DDD if not cause new annular tear.

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Response by:

Salim M Hayek, MD, PhD Salim M Hayek, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University