HNP — herniated nucleus pulposus — specialist
Many patients who have a herniated nucleus pulposus (HNP) can seek treatment from a spine specialist who is qualified to treat this condition. HNP, also called a herniated disc, occurs when the center of a spinal disc — called the nucleus pulposus — pushes through a tear in the outer layer.
While a primary care doctor can provide a diagnosis and initial treatment plan for HNP, a specialist may be recommended in some cases, especially if symptoms aren’t responding to basic treatment. An HNP specialist can provide an individualized treatment plan designed around a patient’s particular needs while also considering age, current medications and other health conditions.
What to expect when visiting an HNP specialist
The first visit with an HNP specialist might revolve around confirming that the source of your pain and other symptoms is being caused by a herniated disc. If diagnostic testing such as an MRI, X-ray or CT scan has already been performed, the specialist might review this imagery and potentially request new testing. The HNP specialist might also:
- Perform a physical exam to test for reflexes and muscle strength
- Order blood tests
- Make note of the patient’s symptoms and medical history
- Request further diagnostic testing, such as a bone scan or discography
What kinds of treatments can an HNP specialist provide?
Once the diagnosis has been made or confirmed, the HNP specialist can develop an individualized treatment plan. Even if your HNP specialist is a surgeon or works in a clinic that performs surgery, doctors should recommend fully exploring conservative treatment options before a surgical procedure becomes an option. Typical nonsurgical treatment includes pain medication, physical therapy, corticosteroid injections or chiropractic adjustment.
If your symptoms have not improved after exhausting conservative treatment and your specialist is recommending surgery, it is important to be aware of the full range of options. Laser Spine Institute provides minimally invasive spine surgery that can treat HNP and other spine conditions on an outpatient basis with less risk of complication and a shorter recovery time compared to a traditional open spine procedure.^
Contact us to learn more and to receive a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.