The term ‘hernia’ and the abbreviation ‘HNP’ refer to the condition Hernia Nucleus Pulposus, where there is a protrusion of the intervertebral disc. This protrusion causes pressure on or over-stimulation of a nerve. It can occur in your lower back or in your neck. Many people who have back or neck pain are concerned that they have a hernia or an impending one. Fortunately, this is not often the case. Back and neck complaints, also with radiating pain in the arm or leg, can have many causes and often look similar to one another at first sight. So it is important to undergo a thorough examination. The same applies to the diagnosis of a hernia. The Plexus Amsterdam physiotherapists and manual therapists can offer expert help with this.
If you have a hernia, then the protruding intervertebral disc causes pain and radiating pain in the arm or leg. This pain can be so intense that special, strong painkillers are sometimes needed in order to be able to keep moving at all. Apart from the pain, there can also be a sensation of numbness or tingling in the arm or leg. Sneezing, straining and even sitting can often exacerbate the pain and/or increase the radiation.
The intervertebral discs act as shock absorbers in between the vertebrae. They also ensure that the vertebrae move smoothly. A hernia occurs more often in some families than in others, although it is not genetically determined. Smokers also run an increased risk of developing a hernia.
Treating a hernia
If a hernia is suspected, then it is important to undergo a thorough examination. It is sometimes necessary to get an MRI or CT scan done. Your therapist at Plexus Amsterdam can give you good, specific advice on this and can consult your doctor or specialist about the possibilities. Nowadays, it is no longer usual to operate on hernias. Research and practice in recent decades has shown that non-operative recovery from a hernia gives the best results in the long term. Recovery from a hernia can often take a long time – sometimes 1 to 2 years – but the prognosis is ultimately good. During this process, therefore, it is important to have good supervision, in the form of treatment, advice and guidance in the rehabilitation period, for instance in getting back to work and sports. But it is also important for prevention, as you don’t want it to happen again. Once is enough. Your Plexus Amsterdam physiotherapist will help you with this. We have wide experience in treating and supervising people with a hernia and people with recurring back/neck complaints who want to avoid a hernia.