Each vertebra in your spine is separated by an intervertebral disc which acts as a shock absorber and stopping adjacent vertebrae from rubbing each other.
The disc functions during motion by deforming its shape and then recoiling back to it’s original shape when the motion is completed. Its unique properties allow smooth motions in the spine. These intervertebral discs are composed of 2 components – The outer ring, called the annulus fibrosus which has criss-crossing fibrous bands similar to an automobile tire, and an innter ring called the nucleus pulposus, which is is the core portion of the disc. This nucleus is gelatinous in nature in the early stage of life, but it becomes a more solid structure with age (yet tends to remains soft). The wear and tear process is a normal progressive degeneration that tends to result in the loss of water content and the change in chemical composition of the disc. The progressive degenerative process occurs throughout life as a wear-and-tear aging process. The degenerative process consists of the loss of water content and changes in chemical composition.
Herniated nucleus pulposus is a condition in which part or the entire soft, gelatinous central portion of an intervertebral disk is forced through a weakened part of the disk, resulting in back pain and nerve root irritation. This may occur in the Lumbar or the cervical region of the spine.In 95% of the lumbar disc herniation, the L4-L5 and L5-S1 discs are most commonly affected. The cervical disc herniations occur mostly at level C5-C6 and C6-C7.
As a matter of fact,you might not face any symptoms when HNP occurs. Only in those cases when the nucleus pulposus impinges on a nearby nerve or the spinal cord, do the symptoms arise. When nerve compression occurs, the symptoms can potentially be unbearable. They can include:
When HNP is diagnosed, doctors recommend the conservative treatment as the first choice. These treatments can include exercise, physical therapy, hot/cold therapy, pain medications, stretching and more. Ayurveda, Panchakarma therapy and Yoga are also extremely popular in the recent times for effective pain relief. They are hugely popular for their holistic healing techniques that are natural and free of side effects. Very few people who do not find relief in any of the above treatments opt for surgeries as a last resort.