Can cell therapy help back pain?

Back pain affects millions of people in our country and sometimes comes from simple things like muscle strain. But as we grow older our spine changes and other causes of pain become common. The problems that come with aging are called degenerative disease.

These can be more difficult to treat and include:

  • spinal stenosis
  • degenerative disc changes
  • herniated discs
  • facet disease (arthritis)
  • cysts
  • spondylolisthesis (slipped bones)
  • fractures

Typically these issues are treated with medications, therapy, or even surgery. Unfortunately outcomes for back surgery fusion have been poor and many of these patients continue to suffer with chronic pain.


What Can Regenerative Medicine do to help?

Regenerative Medicine is being used to treat acute and chronic spine pain and patients are experiencing improvement!

The spine is a complex structure with bones, joints, discs, nerves and soft tissues like ligaments and tendon attachments. Any of these can cause pain. Typical steroid injections block swelling, but rely on the tissue to heal on its own. Sometimes that never happens.

Regenerative Medicine takes a different approach and uses cells that can heal tissues. Stem Cells have the ability to become any type of cell and can heal injuries and degenerated tissue.

In a back fusion, the surgeon assumes the disc to be the source of pain and tries to remove it and replace it with bone. Often the patient continues to hurt. Sometimes this is from a faulty diagnosis and other times, even with disc pain, fusion fails to stop pain.

Regenerative medicine may help patients who have failed surgery as well as those trying to avoid it.

Up until now we have had no way to treat acute and chronic disc pain except with medications and surgeries like fusion. But over the last several years doctors trained in regenerative medicine techniques have begun to experiment with intra-discal injections of PRP and/or cell therapy in the hopes of healing the injured disc. We also use these products in the other parts of the spine.

An FDA approved Phase III adult stem cell study is currently in progress to test a treatment for chronic low back pain associated with degenerative disc disease.

Does Regenerative Medicine Work for the Spine?

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic published the following:

In a systematic review …….. we identified intradiscal MSC transplantation as a safe and effective way to address the underlying cause of disk pathology in DDD that traditional conservative, interventional and surgical treatments fail to address.

There is still research to be done, but learly there is evidence that the use of stem cells to treat discogenic pain has credence and is safe.

Apart from disc pain, back pain and neck pain may come from joint injury in the posterior part of the spine. This too, can be treated with regenerative cells.  It was this type of pain that led one of the greatest professional golfers of all time, Jack Nicklaus, to undergo stem cell treatment for his back pain.  Published reports note Mr. Nicklaus thinks this treatment cured his back pain.

Spine problems can be disabling but Regenerative Medicine can help

There are some doctors who will state that there is not enough evidence for stem cell in the treatment of spine pain. While there is ongoing research and we need more published studies, that will come in time. Right now it is clear that there is both lab and clinical evidence stem cell can help spine pain.

I have treated spine patients for twenty years and it is very clear that our currents methods of treatment are inadequate. Injections and medications often fail, and spine surgery has poor outcomes, leaving patients in pain.

Regenerative Medicine will one day be the primary way we treat spine pain!

When that day comes, we will then spare patients the misery of surgery and long recoveries.

There is much, much work to be done with clinical studies, but there is also much reason to believe that these treatments can help, and many case reports of successful patient treatments!

If you have chronic spine pain, let us guide you to your best treatment options.

At Southcoast Regenerative Medicine we can help you. Take your first steps to less pain and  Set up an appointment today.