Herniation of the nucleus pulposus, abbreviated as HNP, occurs when the nucleus pulposus, frequently described to have a gel-like substance, breaks through the anulus fibrosus, the tire-like structure of the intervertebral disc which acts as a spinal shock absorber.
A herniated disc occurs most frequently in the lumbar region of the backbone or spine, particularly at the L4-L5 and L5-S1 levels (L = Lumbar and S = Sacral). This is primarily because the lumbar spine generally carries the majority of the body’s weight. Since the elasticity and water content of the nucleus decreases with age through the natural process of degeneration, individuals between the ages of 30 and 50 often seem to be more vulnerable to disc herniation.
The progression of a herniation of the nucleus pulposus, best known as a herniated disc, can vary and typically occurs gradually over time. There are four stages: (1) disc protrusion (2) prolapsed disk (3) disc extrusion (4) sequestered disc. Stages 1 and 2 are known as incomplete disc herniations, or as a disc bulge, where 3 and 4 are known as complete disc herniations, ruptured discs or herniated discs. Pain may be combined with some radiculopathy, which means deficit. The deficit might include sensory alterations, such as tingling sensations and/or numbness, or motor changes, such as weakness and/or weight loss. Nerve compression resulting from added pressure, compression or impingement of the spinal nerves due to the substance from the herniated disc is often what causes these changes.
Progression of Herniated Disc
The extremities affected by herniated discs are dependent upon the vertebral level at which they occur in. Consider the following examples:
- Cervical – Pain, discomfort and other symptoms in the throat, shoulders, and arms.
- Thoracic – Symptoms radiate into the chest.
- Lumbar – Symptoms extend into the buttocks, thighs, legs and feet. Sciatica is common.
Cauda Equina Syndrome is serious disorder requiring immediate surgical intervention which occurs from from a disc herniation. The symptoms include bilateral leg pain, reduction of perianal sensation (rectum), paralysis of the bladder, and weakness of the anal sphincter.
Analysis of Herniated Discs
The backbone is analyzed with the patient standing and laying down. Because of muscle spasm, a loss of normal spinal curvature may be noted. Radicular pain, described as inflammation of a spinal nerve, may increase if pressure is placed on the affected spinal segment.
A Lasegue test, also known as Straight-leg Raising Test, is often performed to determine the extent of the herniated disc and its manifested symptoms. To perform this test, the patient lies down, the knee is extended, and the hip is flexed. If pain is aggravated or produced, it is an indication the lower lumbosacral nerve roots may be inflamed.
Other neurological tests are performed to ascertain loss of sensation and/or engine function. Reflexes are noted as these changes may indicate the location of the herniation.
Radiographs can be helpful to determine the presence of a herniated disc, but Computed Axial Tomography (CAT) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) provides more detail. The MRI is the best method allowing the physician to find the soft spinal tissues that are unseen in other imaging procedures.
Evidence of HNP
The findings in the examination and evaluations, such as the one below, are compared to earn a diagnosis. This includes ascertaining the precise location of the herniation so treatment options can be reviewed with the patient.
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss options on the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
By Dr. Alex Jimenez
Additional Topics: Sciatica
Lower back pain is one of the most commonly reported symptoms among the general population. Sciatica, is well-known group of symptoms, including lower back pain, numbness and tingling sensations, which often describe the source of an individual’s lumbar spine issues. Sciatica can be due to a variety of injuries and/or conditions, such as spinal misalignment, or subluxation, disc herniation and even spinal degeneration.
TRENDING TOPIC: EXTRA EXTRA: New PUSH 24/7®️ Fitness Center
Professional Scope of Practice *
The information herein on "Progression and Diagnosis of Herniated Discs | Scientific Specialist" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
Blog Information & Scope Discussions
Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.
We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.*
Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.
We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez DC or contact us at 915-850-0900.
We are here to help you and your family.
Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*
Licensed in: Texas & New Mexico*
Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
My Digital Business Card