HNP — herniated nucleus pulposus

Herniated Nucleus Pulposus

HNP, or a herniated nucleus pulposus, is the more medically oriented term for what most people refer to as a “herniated disc.” The nucleus pulposus is the gel-like inner material found within the thick, outer walls intervertebral discs, which are soft, sponge-like bodies responsible for providing support and flexibility along the entire length of the spine. Due to the gradual deterioration of these discs over time as part of the natural aging process, these discs can develop a tear and the nucleus pulposus may push through the disc wall and extrude into the spinal canal – a condition known as a herniated nucleus pulposus.

HNP symptoms

Interestingly, HNP does not in itself result in any symptoms. Only when the nucleus pulposus impinges on a nearby nerve or the spinal cord do symptoms arise. In fact, it’s entirely possible you have one or more herniated discs at various levels of your spine at this very moment, but they simply don’t cause any problems unless this nerve compression is present. When nerve compression occurs, the symptoms can potentially be debilitating. They can include:

  • Chronic pain
  • Pain traveling the length of a nerve
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Tingling
  • Loss of reflexes

Treating HNP

If your physician has determined that a herniated disc is compressing a nerve and causing your symptoms, he or she will likely recommend a treatment program consisting of one or more non-surgical, conservative treatments. For many people, such treatments are often very effective in managing the pain and other symptoms associated with HNP. These treatments can include exercise, physical therapy, hot/cold therapy, pain medications, stretching and more.

Minimally invasive alternatives

Some patients, however, simply aren’t able to ease their HNP symptoms through conservative methods, and instead turn to elective surgery as a last resort. If this describes your situation, contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more about our available treatments. Our minimally invasive procedures are a more effective alternative to traditional open back surgery and can help you find relief from neck and back pain.