Herniated nucleus pulposus — treatment and prevention
Herniated nucleus pulposus treatment is almost always first attempted conservatively with a course of nonsurgical techniques. While this condition can undoubtedly be uncomfortable and cause potentially severe pain in the neck, back and other parts of the body, it is rarely an emergency situation that requires immediate surgical treatment. In fact, many patients who are diagnosed with a herniated nucleus pulposus, also called a herniated disc, will find the results they are looking for over the course of several weeks or months if they follow their prescribed conservative treatment plans closely.
How does conservative treatment work?
The goal of conservative herniated nucleus pulposus treatment is to manage pain and relieve strain on the affected disc. It is possible for the body to naturally heal the tear itself and reabsorb expelled disc material. Conservative treatment can help ease symptoms while the overall progress of the condition is monitored. Some examples of commonly recommended treatments include:
- Low-impact exercise
- Stretching techniques
- Hot and cold therapy
- Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Corticosteroid injections
Can a herniated nucleus pulposus be prevented?
The most common cause of herniated nucleus pulposus is the natural aging process. As you grow older, your spine will begin to deteriorate and become more susceptible to degenerative conditions like herniated discs. Additionally, there are many factors that doctors believe may contribute to the risk of developing age-related spine conditions. For instance, obesity, participation in high-impact sports and job duties that require frequent sitting, bending, twisting and lifting are all believed to be contributing factors to developing degenerative spine conditions, including herniated nucleus pulposus. With so many potential causes, there is no one way to prevent a problem from developing. However, by avoiding activities that place excess strain on your spine, you can reduce your herniated disc symptoms, as well as reduce the chance that you will experience a herniated disc in the first place.
When should you consider surgery?
While surgery is generally considered a last-resort treatment, it can become a serious option when symptoms remain debilitating after fully exploring conservative treatments and making any recommended lifestyle changes. At Laser Spine Institute we provide minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery that provides benefits compared to traditional open spine surgery, including less risk of complication and no lengthy recovery.^ To learn more, contact us today.
Our caring and dedicated team can help you receive a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.