Seven facts about herniated nucleus pulposus

A herniated nucleus pulposus, more commonly referred to as a herniated disc or a bulging disc, is a condition that affects millions of people in the U.S. If you’ve been diagnosed with this condition and are researching your treatment options, it’s important that you learn as much as possible so you can find the relief you are looking for.

Understanding a herniated nucleus pulposus

Here are seven interesting facts that can help you to better understand what a herniated nucleus pulposus is, the type of symptoms it can cause and how it can be treated:

  1. It’s usually caused by aging. A disc herniation can occur when the spinal discs, which cushion the spine, wear down after many years of wear and tear. When they become fragile, it’s possible for a bulge to develop in the disc’s outer wall.
  2. Lifestyle factors can increase your chances of developing a herniated nucleus pulposus. Being overweight, using tobacco products and consuming excessive amounts of alcohol are factors that can increase the likelihood of a herniated disc.
  3. Most people don’t know they have a disc herniation. The majority of people who have a herniated nucleus pulposus don’t experience any type of symptoms, and are therefore unaware of the condition’s existence.
  4. Most symptoms appear when the disc presses on nerve tissue. If a disc herniation extends far enough into the spinal canal to put pressure on the spinal cord or a spinal nerve root, symptoms such as radiating pain, numbness, tingling and muscle weakness will often occur.
  5. Your symptoms will depend on the location of the disc herniation. Disc degeneration is most common in the cervical spine (neck area) and lumbar spine (lower back area) because those are the portions of the spine that bend and twist most often. If a herniated nucleus pulposus is present in the cervical spine, symptoms are most often experienced in the neck, shoulders, arms and hands. When the lumbar spine is affected, symptoms can occur in the lower back, hips, buttocks, legs and feet.
  6. Most treatments don’t involve surgery. If you’ve been diagnosed with a herniated nucleus pulposus, your physician will most likely suggest you try a combination of conservative treatments for several months to see if your symptoms can be reduced or eliminated. Some options can include adopting a healthier lifestyle, pain medications, physical therapy, stretching and strengthening exercises, hot/cold therapy and steroid injections.
  7. Alternative treatments are also available. Many patients have found relief through alternative treatments such as yoga, chiropractic care and acupuncture.

Nucleus pulposus treatment options at Laser Spine Institute

For patients who have tried several months of regular treatment through conservative and alternative therapies and are still experiencing painful symptoms, outpatient surgery at Laser Spine Institute may be the next option to consider. With a patient satisfaction score of 98,^, Laser Spine Institute successfully performs thousands of minimally invasive spine surgeries each year, setting us apart as the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery.^ Contact us today to find out if you are a candidate for one of our procedures.

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