Annular Tear

A tear in the outer layer of the disc (annulus fibrosus). As the tear approaches the surface of the annulus, pain may occur due to an inflammatory response as well as stimulation of nerve fibers.


A physician trained in the administration of anesthesia to allow a patient to go asleep during surgery. They carefully monitor the patient in the operating room and administer medication to minimize pain. Some anesthesiologists also specialize in spinal injections.

Aerobic Exercise

Any physical exercise demanding additional effort from the heart and lungs to deliver a continuous amount of oxygen to the skeletal muscles. This exercise generally requires heavier breathing than passive muscular activity and results in increased heart and lung efficiency with minimum wasted energy. Examples of aerobic exercises include running, jogging, swimming, vigorous dancing, and cycling.


A method of producing pain relief by inserting fine, wire-thin needles into the skin at specific sites on the body along a series of channels, called meridians. Some studies suggest this may be helpful for patients suffering from neck and back issues.

Abdominal Bracing

Technique of tensing the stomach muscles to support the spine. Patients are instructed to practice this during all movements in bed, when walking and even when wearing a brace or corset. Eventually this becomes automatic and patients develop a natural support for their spine.