Herniated nucleus pulposus causes and treatment
If you have been diagnosed with a herniated nucleus pulposus, you’re probably curious about the causes and treatment options for this condition. More commonly referred to as a herniated disc or a ruptured disc, a herniated nucleus pulposus occurs when a spinal disc cracks or tears and its inner core – composed of a gel-like material that includes water and collagen fibers – escapes beyond the outer walls of the disc.
A herniated nucleus pulposus won’t always result in symptoms other than localized pain where the rupture occurred. If the inner core of the ruptured disc escapes into the spinal canal and puts pressure on the spinal cord or a nerve root, then symptoms such as localized or radiating pain, numbness, muscle weakness and tingling may result.
Herniated nucleus pulposus causes
While your spine is built to withstand a large amount of abuse, the repeated wear and tear it endures through the years is the most common of the causes of a herniated nucleus pulposus. Your spinal discs serve as your spine’s shock absorbers, and as they become worn they can narrow and become more fragile, which can lead to a rupture.
Though less common, high-impact sport injuries or car accidents can also result in a ruptured spinal disc. People who are required to lift heavy objects daily at work are also susceptible, especially if they lift an item improperly or twist suddenly while lifting. There is also evidence that genetics may play a factor in spinal degeneration, making some patients more prone to a disc rupture.
Herniated nucleus pulposus treatment
If you are experiencing symptoms that are affecting your everyday life, there are a variety of conservative and alternative herniated nucleus pulposus treatment options that may help you find relief. Your physician may suggest you try a combination of conservative treatments such as pain medications, physical therapy, hot/cold therapy and strengthening exercises, which may help reduce your symptoms over time. Lifestyle changes, such as an improved diet and more exercise to lose excess weight that is putting a strain on your spine, can also be effective.
Many patients also include alternative treatment methods in their regimen when dealing with a ruptured disc, with acupuncture, acupressure, chiropractic treatment and massage therapy among the popular options.
If you continue to suffer from chronic symptoms after treating a herniated nucleus pulposus using conventional and alternative methods, your physician may suggest surgery as an option. At Laser Spine Institute, our minimally invasive surgeries require a shorter recovery time ^ compared to open spine surgery. To find out if you are a candidate for our outpatient procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute today.