Herniated nucleus pulposus treatment and prevention strategies
A herniated nucleus pulposus is another term for a herniated disc or ruptured disc — a disc in the spine that has torn open and may be causing a series of painful symptoms. If you are experiencing these symptoms of pain, tingling, numbness and/or muscle weakness in your neck or back, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss your options for herniated nucleus pulposus treatment.
For many patients, herniated nucleus pulposus treatment begins with a series of conservative, nonsurgical methods. You should research your available options prior to your doctor’s appointment so you can have an active role in the conversation about your spine care.
Conservative treatment for a herniated nucleus pulposus
The first approach to herniated nucleus pulposus treatment is often nonsurgical, with therapies focusing on relieving pressure on the damaged disc and blocking the pinched nerve from sending pain signals. For many patients, one or more of the following conservative treatments will be recommended:
- Pain medication
- Physical therapy
- Lifestyle changes
- Low-impact exercises
- Hot/cold compresses
- Corticosteroid injections
The purpose of these conservative treatments is to reduce the symptoms of a herniated nucleus pulposus while your spine returns to its normal health. Most cases of a herniated disc develop naturally with age and years of decreasing spine health. While conservative treatments can help to relieve this damage, there are several preventive steps that can be taken before a herniated nucleus pulposus develops in order to maintain the best spinal health for your body.
Preventive steps to help avoid a herniated nucleus pulposus
Before herniated nucleus pulposus treatment is necessary, you should try to follow these guidelines to promote a healthy spine and deter the development of a spine condition later in life:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly
- Keep a strong core
- Eat a balanced diet
- Hydrate properly
- Avoid high-impact sports
While these prevention methods may not fully keep you from developing a herniated nucleus pulposus, they can at least increase your spinal health and possibly postpone the development of this condition.
If you do develop a damaged disc in your spine and conservative treatment proves ineffective after several weeks or months, you may wish to consider surgery as the next step in your treatment. Laser Spine Institute performs minimally invasive spine surgery that is an alternative to traditional open spine procedures. We use muscle-sparing techniques that allow our patients to enjoy a shorter recovery time^ with less risk of complication than traditional open neck or back surgery.
To find out if you are a candidate for the minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute, contact us today and request a no-cost MRI review.^