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Medical imagery for a herniated nucleus pulposus (HNP)

If your doctor suspects that you may have a herniated nucleus pulposus (HNP), an MRI might be used to evaluate your condition. HNP means the gel-like center of a disc has leaked through a tear in the tough outer wall of the disc. This can occur as a result of the natural wear that happens as a person ages. A disc’s nucleus can lose water content and the wall can become brittle and weak. It also can occur at any level of the spine but is most common in the cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) regions. Read on to learn about the MRI process and the treatments to attempt after receiving a concrete diagnosis.

What a HNP MRI reveals

The image produced by an MRI machine reveals much more detail than an X-ray or a CT scan. A virtual photo of the internal anatomy is captured when revolutions of a magnet stimulate hydrogen atoms within the body. The energy emitted by the hydrogen atoms shows up on the image, revealing abnormalities, such as a HNP. A positive MRI result shows the extruded disc material as a dark mass, and this is the true value of an MRI — revealing the exact location and severity of nerve compression produced by a herniated disc as well as confirming the HNP diagnosis.

Treating HNP after a positive MRI result

HNP treatment after a positive MRI result and HNP diagnosis typically involve the use of conservative methods such as pain medication, physical therapy, anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, heat massage, chiropractic manipulation and steroid injections. These nonsurgical methods generally are effective in managing nerve compression symptoms such as pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness. However, if symptoms remain chronic after several weeks or months of conservative care, contact USA Spine Care to learn how one of the minimally invasive procedures performed at our state-of-the-art facilities may be able to help you find relief from neck and back pain.

At USA Spine Care, we are the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and have helped thousands of patients each year find relief from chronic neck and back pain. Our procedures are performed using small incisions that do not unnecessarily disrupt the muscles or ligaments surrounding the spine, resulting in a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery.^ To learn about our HNP treatments and to find out if you are a potential candidate for our outpatient procedures, reach out to our dedicated team today and ask for a free MRI review.* We can help guide you on your journey to wellness.

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