Category: Procedures, Spine Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: August 3, 2015
Stem cell therapies can be used in the treatment of certain spine conditions. Other conditions are more appropriately treated with surgery. This article will focus on stem cell treatments for spinal conditions and injuries. We will talk about the various stem cell treatments available, and compare them to surgical treatments for specific conditions of the spine.
Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell therapy is a method of treatment in which a patient’s own cells are extracted and used to reduce pain and regrow tissue after an injury. There are several different types of treatments that utilize stem cells, including PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) and BMAC (Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate) injections. In these procedures, a patient has a sample of their stem cells removed (blood platelets for PRP, bone marrow for BMAC injections). These cells are separated and then injected into the patient’s body at the area of injury. The introduction of these cells is meant to speed up the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
Stem Cell vs. Surgery for Back Pain
Many stem cell therapy enthusiasts tout the treatment as being a pain-free alternative to surgery. While there is evidence that these treatments can help in certain situations, there are some instances wherein spine surgery is more appropriate and effective. For example, a herniated disc or degenerative vertebra that threatens a spinal nerve will likely not respond well to stem cell treatments.
Stem cell therapy also usually requires multiple treatments and a lot of time before patients see results. Some patients need to go back for 6 injections or more over the course of several months. Even then, pain relief can take years to manifest itself. Minimally invasive spine surgery, on the other hand, often provides immediate results. There is some required surgery recovery time, but patients typically report symptom relief upon waking after their procedure.
If you are curious about stem cell therapy or surgery for reducing your back pain, consult with a skilled spine doctor to discuss your condition and options for treatment.