A diagnosis of a cervical herniated nucleus pulposus (HNP) means that one of the intervertebral discs within the cervical (neck) region of the spine has leaked its gel-like inner material through a fissure in the fibrous outer disc wall. This condition can be part of the natural aging process, with wear and tear taking a toll on weakening discs, or it can be a result of a neck injury. The neck is particularly vulnerable to herniated discs, because the cervical vertebrae are under constant stress as they support the weight of the skull and contribute to a?wide range of movement. Quite often, a cervical HNP produces no symptoms, and the condition can heal itself through a process known as resorption.
Symptoms of Nerve Compression Caused by Cervical HNP
If extruded disc material within the cervical spine begins to irritate or compress an adjacent nerve root, it gives rise to the following symptoms:
- Sharp or constant pain in the neck, shoulders or upper back
- Pain or a burning sensation that radiates along the length of a nerve, down the arm and into the hands and fingers
- Pain associated with rotating or twisting the head
- Tightness or stiffness in the neck, shoulders or upper back
- Tenderness when the area is touched
More often than not, these symptoms can be managed using conservative treatments such as pain medication, targeted exercise, physical therapy, behavior modification and others.
Minimally Invasive Alternative
If weeks or months of conservative treatment proves ineffective for managing symptoms associated with a cervical HNP, surgery might become an option. If so, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure performed using revolutionary, endoscopic techniques may be able to help you rediscover your life without neck pain.