Before stem cell therapy for back pain was introduced there were no therapies available that could regenerate vertebral discs after degeneration had occurred. Which generally meant that if all the non-operative forms of treatment had failed, this left only surgical intervention. So sufferers of back pain as a result of disc degeneration would have to undergo either a lumbar discectomy or a spinal fusion.
With the introduction of stem cell therapy treatment, it provided sufferers of disc degeneration and a range of other back conditions with non-operative treatment options. To give you a more detailed understanding of how stem cell therapy for back pain works we’ve answered some of the most commonly asked questions below:
How does stem cell therapy work?
To perform stem cell therapy the patient’s own stem cells are harvested either from the hip bone or their own fat cells. After harvesting the cells these are then centrifuged to separate the primitive tissues that have healing properties for other tissues. Once this is done, the stem cells are then transferred into the disc by injection. The primitive blood cells stimulate collagen regeneration in the disc to promote healing and pain relief through increased mobility.
What are stem cells?
A stem cell is defined as a primitive or undifferentiated cell which has the potential to transform into a specialised cell type, depending on where it’s injected. Some of the specialised cells which stem cells can transform into include fat cells, bone cells and cartilage cells.
Which back conditions could benefit from stem cell therapy?
There is a wide range of different back conditions that could benefit from stem cell therapy treatment such as discogenic back pain, muscular tears, spinal facet pain, herniated discs and bulging discs.
How long does the stem cell therapy treatment take?
Depending on the condition, stem cell therapy normally doesn’t take any more than two hours, meaning patients can return home the same day after treatment.
Will I require a general anaesthetic?
Stem cell therapy treatment generally only requires the application of a local anaesthetic.
Is stem cell therapy suitable for all back conditions?
While stem cell therapy is suitable for a wide range of different back conditions it’s important to consult with a spinal specialist before undergoing the treatment to ensure it’s right for you.
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].