HNP stands for “herniated nucleus pulposus,” and describes the condition in which the gel-like inner material of an intervertebral disc — the nucleus pulposus — pushes through the thick, outer disc wall and extrudes into the spinal canal. Simply, HNP is another term for a herniated disc.
This herniation is often the result of the gradual deterioration of the discs in the spine as part of the natural aging process. Over time, cartilage and other components of the discs can break down, causing discs to thin, bulge or otherwise deform, sometimes to the point where they can tear and become herniated.
Symptoms of HNP
Identifying the symptoms of HNP can help you be proactive about your treatment before the pain prevents you from the daily activities you enjoy.
A herniated disc by itself is completely asymptomatic — it does not cause any pain or symptoms. In fact, many people have some level of disc herniation currently in their spine without even knowing it. Pain only develops when a herniated nucleus pulposus places pressure on a nearby spinal nerve of the spinal cord itself. These symptoms can include:
- Loss of reflexes
Treatment for HNP
If you’re experiencing the pain and symptoms of a herniated disc, you should schedule an appointment with your physician. Your doctor will recommend a variety of conservative, nonsurgical treatments, such as physical therapy, hot/cold therapy, exercise, stretching, massage, chiropractic care and others.
For many individuals, these treatments are often very effective in easing the pain and other symptoms associated with HNP.
Minimally invasive procedures
Surgery becomes an option for some patients after several months of conservative treatment does not provide relief. If this is your situation, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about our minimally invasive spine surgery as a safer, more effective alternative to traditional open back surgery.
Our minimally invasive decompression and stabilization surgery help to treat HNP by relieving the pressure of the damaged disc on the pinched nerve. The decompression surgery is the most common of our procedures for a damaged disc because it removes just a small piece of the disc that is causing nerve compression. However, sometimes the entire disc must be removed and an artificial disc inserted in the empty disc space to stabilize the spine; this is done with a stabilization procedure. Because this is accomplished with minimally invasive techniques, our patients experience a shorter recovery time§ and a lower risk of complication than patients who choose traditional open back surgery.
To see if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute today. We can review your MRI report or CT scan and help you along your journey to find pain relief.