The human spine consists of five distinct sections: the cervical spine, thoracic spine, lumbar spine, sacrum and coccyx. For this blog post, we are going to focus on the first section: the cervical spine.
Share this Post
Here’s what you need to know about cervical degenerative disc disease and how stem cells are changing the way we treat it.
What is Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease?
Cervical degenerative disc disease is not an actual disease. It is a term used to describe the pain that results from damaged vertebrae in the neck region. The damage doesn’t necessarily have to come from a traumatic episode (although the continuous twisting and turning of — or a direct injury to — the head and neck can cause a cervical disc to lose volume and, thus, functionality); discs just naturally lose volume as we age. The fluid inside begins to dry out, making it harder for each disc to provide enough cushioning between our vertebrae and easier for each to be injured from normal wear and tear. It’s much like a leaf that turns brittle as it falls off a tree and away from its water source. Without the right amount of moisture, a disc can start to bulge or even tear, causing inflammation, nerve irritation and pain.
Traditional Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease Treatments
In the past, a cervical degenerative disc disease treatment plan included rest, strengthening exercises, pain medication, steroids and/or surgery. Today, however, patients have more options because there has been extensive research on the regenerative properties of stem cells. While long known to be beneficial for treating many blood diseases and cancers, stem cells are now known to have the potential to treat other conditions, such as cervical degenerative disc disease, as well.
How Stem Cells Work as a Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment
Stem cells are the progenitors of all the cells in our body: they are able to become specific types of cells regardless of where they originated or their previous function. This means that they can be moved from one type of tissue and give rise to another, a powerful weapon for regenerating tissue that is not capable of repairing itself. Here at ThriveMD, we harvest stem cells and growth factors from multiple areas of the patient’s own body. We combine them with platelet-rich plasma made from the patient’s own blood. This aspirate is then injected into the affected area(s) of the patient’s neck with the expectation that the combined components (stem cells, growth factors and PRP) will improve the area’s blood supply, decrease inflammation and ultimately initiate the natural restoration of form and function to the cervical disc(s).
Want to Learn More?
Choosing the right cervical degenerative disc disease treatment depends on a patient’s individual history. If you or a loved one would like to learn more about neck pain and the options for treating it successfully, please contact our office. Our founder and medical director, Dr. Scott Brandt, is an expert in interventional pain management and board certified in anesthesiology. He has researched, published and presented extensively in the field of regenerative medicine, focusing on the safety and efficacy of new technologies, and carefully reviews every patient’s history to ensure that he or she has a credible option for lasting pain relief.