A herniated spinal disc (also known as a slipped or ruptured disc) can significantly disrupt a person’s everyday life. Herniation typically occurs in healthy adults aged between 35 and 50 and is often the result of strenuous activity that puts stress on the sensitive spinal discs.
Although many herniated discs get better after a few weeks using conservative treatments such as pain relievers and heat therapy, some patients experience severe symptoms that go on for months. These can include:
Pain that radiates down the back of the leg
Problems lifting the foot
Neurological symptoms such as numbness in the legs and toes
Nerve pain in the neck, back, and legs
Back pain that worsens with movement
Constant lower back pain
Loss of bladder function
Traditionally, patients who experience any of these symptoms for more than six weeks are considered for herniated disc surgery. While this can provide relief for many patients, herniated disc surgery costs are very high, and up to 18% of patients experience recurrent herniation after the procedure.
Fortunately, there is an alternative: stem cell therapy. This minimally invasive procedure is becoming increasingly common amongst adults of all ages and could boost your quality of life.
What is stem cell therapy?
Stem cell therapy is one of the most popular forms of regenerative medicine. It involves taking healthy stem cells from the patient’s own bone marrow, adipose tissue, or cartilage and injecting it into the painful part of the body. Stem cells are known as the body’s raw materials. They are not specialized to perform a particular function and are used by the body to replace old or damaged cells.
If injected into a herniated disc, stem cells get to work repairing the spinal injury. Over time, patients usually benefit from increased function and mobility, as well as reduced pain.
Can stem cell therapy help with a herniated disc?
While some medical practitioners are wary of making strong claims about stem cell therapy, the statistics tell a different story. According to results from a recent Phase II trial involving 100 patients, 70% of participants injected with a dose of stem cells called mesenchymal precursor cells (MPCs) saw a 50% reduction in their back pain within a year. This figure is much higher than the 30% of patients who reported benefits after receiving a placebo.
In short, stem cell therapy shows great promise as a conservative alternative to spinal surgery. If combined with gentle exercise, recovery is relatively quick, and a session could save you from a lifetime of debilitating pain.
Can stem cell therapy address other types of back pain?
Yes! As well as treating herniated discs in adults of all ages, stem cell therapy can treat degenerative disc disease. This condition is common in older adults and occurs naturally as part of the aging process.
As a person ages, the spinal discs between their vertebrae start to break down and are less able to absorb shocks. As a result, they may experience pain and are more likely to develop conditions such as spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, and abnormal bulging disc.
Fortunately, stem cell therapy can effectively repair degenerated discs. As a minimally invasive procedure, it is considered a preferable treatment for older adults experiencing this problem. Indeed, recovery from surgery often takes a long time in older people, so a gentle treatment such as stem cell therapy is safer and less disruptive.
Beyond herniated discs and other disc-related issues, stem cell therapy can treat spinal disorders affecting facet joints, iliolumbar ligaments, and interspinous ligaments. It can also address painful annular tears. In other words, stem cells therapy is incredibly versatile. If you’re experiencing back pain that significantly affects your quality of life, it is worth considering your options.
What happens during a stem cell procedure?
Stem cell therapy is quick, easy, and relatively painless. Trained medical practitioners will start by harvesting some of your stem cells. These will be processed and injected back into the painful site. You will not need to remain in hospital overnight, and you will be permitted to leave shortly after the injection has taken place.
It may take a few weeks before you start noticing results, and you may detect some swelling of the spine. This is perfectly normal and shouldn’t interfere too much with your daily activities. In severe cases, patients may need to return for further stem cell injections.
Banish your back pain today!
Are you ready to regain control of your life and banish your pesky back pain? It’s time to consider stem cell therapy. Reach out today to discuss your options with our team of friendly experts.
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].