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From Taking 60 Percocet a Day to Zero. Can Stem Cells Be Opioid Sparing?

The opioid epidemic created havoc in America. Back pain is a very common reason for using opioids.

Can Stem Cells be Opioid sparing?

Glenn has been suffering from back pain for more than 15 yrs. All these years he has been taking an opioid dose which is equal to about 60 Percocet pills a day. Yes, 60 pills a day!!!

In spite of such a high dose, he was still in a lot of pain and most importantly, he was not functional.

Glenn has also tried other treatments like physical therapy and epidural injections. He even had fusion surgery. They did not help his back pain.

He decided to get stem cell therapy. Now he is not only PAIN-FREE, but he is also DRUG-FREE and more importantly enjoying his life.

Glenn got good results from his stem cell treatment because

  1. He received his own bone marrow stem cells. These seem to be the most FDA compliant among all the available stem cells.. Bone marrow stem cells have the best clinical evidence for safety and efficacy regarding intradiscal treatment.
  2. The stem cells were placed in his discs, facets, sacroiliac joint, and spinal nerves. The disc is one of the major structure causing back pain. To get the best long term results, the discs need to be injected with stem cells. Multiple pain generators were injected because it is impossible to accurately narrow it down to one pain generator. Additionally, back pain is usually multifactorial.
  3. These injections were performed with precision under x-ray guidance
  4. He was motivated to get off the pills.

This is Glenn’s x-ray picture taken during the procedure which shows needle placement in the discs and facet joints.

Glenn started noticing pain relief a month after the procedure. He wanted to get off the opioids and since he was on a very high dose, we tapered him off the opioids gradually. It has been 8 months since the procedure and he is now pain-free and drug-free. This is a one-time procedure. Long-lasting results are commonly seen when stem cell therapy is used to treat back pain. According to one study, patients were seeing a significant reduction in pain even after 5 years.

Opioids are commonly used to treat chronic low back pain. Usually, they are used as a last resort because most patients do not receive pain relief with traditional treatments like physical therapy, medications, injections, and surgery. Unfortunately, opioids are a double edge sword. They provide pain relief to many patients but also cause addiction. Sadly, this addiction seems like a one way street with very few capable of kicking the habit. In the worst-case scenario, it can lead to death.

Physicians and patients alike are looking for better alternatives to treat back pain because traditional treatments have not been very successful. Based on preliminary clinical reports and a large body of anecdotal data, Stem cell therapy for back pain when appropriately done could be the answer. It is common to hear our back pain patients describe this procedure as “god sent”, “miracle” and “life-changing”.

Micheal was another patient who was on high dose opioids for back pain and now is completely off pills after getting the stem cell therapy.

Can Stem Cells be Opioid sparing? Possibly. As Glenn said in the video above, “I am the living proof”.




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Dr. Sairam Atluri is a pioneer of stem cell therapy in the Cincinnati area. He is one of the very few in the country performing intra-discal and subchondral injections to treat back pain and joint pain. He gives national talks and teaches other physicians about stem cell therapy. He is also a co-editor of one of the largest textbooks about regenerative medicine. Dr. Atluri is part of the team which wrote the ASIPP guidelines for stem cells to treat back pain. He is one of the few in the area to be certified in Regenerative Medicine by American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians [ASIPP].

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