What is herniated nucleus pulposus? Herniated nucleus pulposus (HNP) is a term for a herniated disc. The nucleus pulposus is a gel-like material that is found within the spinal discs. As we age, these discs can start to deteriorate. When a disc tears, the nucleus pulposus may push through the disc wall. If this occurs, and the nucleus pulposus compresses a nearby nerve or the spinal cord, you could experience pain, numbness, weakness, tingling or other symptoms
Thankfully, many herniated nucleus pulposus cases clear up on their own with time and basic treatment. Rest is often recommended because the body needs time to heal itself naturally and to avoid further injuring the affected disc. Avoiding strenuous activities and using proper lifting techniques, while still staying active, can often help the recovery process.
If you do develop painful symptoms from herniated nucleus pulposus, there are a number of conservative options you can try, including:
- Epidural cortisone injections
- Exercise — cardiovascular and strength training
- Pain medication
- Heat and cold compression therapy
- Physical therapy
- Therapeutic massage
- Spinal decompression therapy
Surgery for herniated nucleus pulposus may become an option if weeks or months of conservative treatment does not bring the relief necessary for a good quality of life.
Is minimally invasive surgery viable for herniated nucleus pulposus? Minimally invasive spine surgery for herniated nucleus pulposus uses muscle-sparing techniques in which muscles are moved aside as opposed to cut or torn. Minimally invasive surgeries can help you recover from pain, offering a number of benefits, including outpatient procedure, faster recovery, reduced risk of infection, reduced risk of blood loss, a very small incision.