Five questions to ask before you start herniated nucleus pulposus treatment
Five questions to ask before starting herniated nucleus pulposus treatment
- What is a herniated nucleus pulposus? The vertebrae in the spine are cushioned by discs that act as shock absorbers and aid in flexibility. The discs have a hard outer layer called the annulus fibrosus and a soft, gel-like inner layer called the nucleus pulposus. Over time, the aging process and everyday wear and tear on the spine can cause the annulus fibrosus to become brittle and more susceptible to rupturing. When the annulus fibrosus ruptures and the nucleus pulposus seeps out into the spinal column, it is called a herniated nucleus pulposus.
- Does a herniated nucleus pulposus cause any symptoms? A herniated nucleus pulposus can cause localized pain in the spine at the location of the actual ruptured disc. If the herniated nucleus pulposus puts pressure on a surrounding nerve root or the spinal cord, there can be additional painful symptoms such as radiating pain, numbness, tingling and muscle weakness.
- What are herniated nucleus pulposus treatment options? Treatment for a herniated nucleus pulposus typically starts with conservative options such as rest, heat and ice therapy, exercise and stretching, pain medication, physical therapy, steroid injections and chiropractic care. Each person responds to treatment differently. Conservative therapy is usually most effective when a few treatment options are combined.
- Are there lifestyle modifications I can make to improve symptoms? In addition to conservative treatment options, there are also lifestyle modifications that can help with healing and symptoms relief. Lifestyle modifications that your physician might recommend include quitting smoking, losing excess weight, reducing alcohol intake, avoiding high-impact activities and avoiding contact sports.
- Will I need surgery? Herniated nucleus pulposus surgery is usually a last resort if conservative treatment is unable to control symptoms or if symptoms are severe. If your symptoms are still interfering with your everyday life after several months of conservative treatment, talk to your physician about minimally invasive spine surgery. Minimally invasive spine surgery can help to relieve your pain while minimizing the surgical risk and the rehabilitation period.
If you have tried conservative treatment but you are still experiencing painful herniated nucleus pulposus symptoms, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about our minimally invasive procedures. Our minimally invasive procedures have fewer complications than open spine surgery and the recovery time is shortened as well. Most patients who undergo minimally invasive spine surgery can return to work and everyday activities within three months of surgery. At Laser Spine Institute our procedures are performed as outpatient procedures and don’t require an overnight hospital stay.
Contact Laser Spine Institute today and ask for you no-cost MRI review* to find out if you may be a candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures as part of your herniated nucleus pulposus treatment.