These two different disorders are not similar. Spina bifida occulta is not a diagnosis that causes pain but a finding on X-ray that generally has no bearing on symptoms. An annular tear can be a pain generator but also can be found on an MRI of an asymptomatic individual.
Donald Corenman, MD, DC is a highly-regarded spine surgeon, considered an expert in the area of neck and back pain. Trained as both a Medical Doctor and Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Corenman earned academic appointments as Clinical Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and his research on spine surgery and rehabilitation has resulted in the publication of multiple peer-reviewed articles and two books.