The nucleus pulposus, typically the soft, jelly-like center of the intervertebral discs, can become herniated when an Annular Tear is created as a result of typical disc degeneration or traumatic injury. Expanding outside of its normal bounds, a herniation weakens the structure of the disc, compromising the disc’s ability to act as a shock absorber between vertebrae. Intervertebral discs, which help to facilitate movement and offset the load of the spine, fill an extremely important role in mobility and stability in everyday actions like sitting, standing and walking.
Herniated Nucleus Pulposus Diagnosis
Interesting enough, a herniated nucleus pulposus does not typically result in symptoms until the tears in the disc reach a certain degree of penetration or the disc itself expands pinching nearby nerves. So when patients seek treatment, it is important to note that they are seeking relief from the discomfort and pain associated with a condition and not the condition itself. In any case, after neurological symptoms like numbness, tingling, soreness, muscle weakness, loss of coordination and pain arise, it is common that the patient is suffering from some form of nerve root impingement.
Through the use of an MRI, we are able to determine whether or not the integrity of the discs has been compromised and the possibility of surrounding soft tissues being affected. Once our doctors examine the patient and assess the severity of neurological symptoms, a course of treatment will be determined in accordance with the patient’s needs.
Herniated Nucleus Pulposus Treatment
Upon identifying the source of discogenic pain, our team will begin the best course of treatment often starting with non-surgical conservative management techniques. Should conservative management prove ineffective, additional treatments and procedures may be sought to relieve pain.