annular tear treatment

How to Choose Which Annular Tear Treatment is Right for You

thriveMD PRP, Stem Cell Therapy, Stem Cells for Back Pain

Chances are high that at some point in our lives we will experience back pain. Indeed, back pain is the leading cause of disability around the world with no more or less prevalence in industrialized versus developing countries. The simple fact is that humans are living longer. And living longer means our bodies have more time to deteriorate and more time to sustain injury. One specific type of back injury is an annulus tear. Read on to learn about this condition and how to choose the right annulus tear treatment to address it.

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But First, Let’s Talk About the Spine

The human spine (what most of us call “our back”) is the bony column that runs from the base of our skull to the top of our pelvis. It includes 33 vertebrae and a variety of muscles, nerves and other soft tissue structures that combine to protect our spinal cord and stabilize our body’s weight distribution. Of course, the spine also allows us to flex and rotate as needed. 

Twenty-three discs separate the majority of the spine’s individual vertebrae; these discs are important because they absorb shock, protecting and cushioning our vertebrae against the wear and tear of daily movement. Each disc is composed of a tough outer layer — the annulus fibrosus — and a gel-like center — the nucleus pulposus. The annulus fibrosus’s multiple layers of collagen support the pressure of the inner nucleus, enabling the vertebrae to remain separated and mitigating the effects of any bodily impact. 

As we age, the nucleus begins to deteriorate, losing water and, thus, volume. This increases the pressure on the surrounding annulus; the longer we live, the more the nucleus degrades (i.e., weakens) and the more likely it is that a disc will experience a tear in its annular wall (or other degenerative conditions) due to the natural progression of the aging process or an injury.

Treatments Options for Annular Tears

Not all annular tears are painful, but when they are, patients usually want relief. Most annulus tear treatment plans begin with a physical therapy and/or exercise regime to strengthen the muscles of the spine so that they are able to mitigate the stress caused by the injured disc(s) and to increase blood flow to the injured area of the back and improve healing. Should swelling or discomfort linger, anti-inflammatory and/or pain medications can be administered, but outside of these traditional treatments, there have been few alternatives other than time, steroid shots and/or surgery to provide any further relief. The past decade, however, has produced scientific, as well as therapeutic, evidence supporting the use of stem cell injections as an annulus tear treatment option.

Stem Cell Injections for Annular Tears

Choosing the right annular tear treatment is dependent on your symptoms, your desired results and the advice of a qualified and experienced physician. If non-invasive treatment options haven’t worked for you, but you aren’t ready for more invasive measures (like surgery), you might be able to use stem cells to combat the effects of an annular tear. A stem cell injection as an annular tear treatment is a minimally-invasive procedure that can be performed in a doctor’s procedure suite in as little as two to three hours. During the treatment, stem cells and growth factors are harvested from the patient’s own body. Science indicates that these natural autologous components have the potential to facilitate the repair of damaged tissues by initiating cellular regeneration.

At ThriveMD, we take mesenchymal stem cells (usually from fat tissue in the lower abdomen and from bone marrow harvested from the iliac crest) and blood (to make platelet-rich plasma). We combine them into a concentrated aspirate which is then injected into the patient’s damaged tissue using live x-ray (fluoroscopic) or ultrasound guidance. Patients walk out of our office to recuperate at home. Patients typically can return to normal daily activities within a day or two. Intensive and impact exercise is limited for four-six weeks. Pain relief is generally experienced beginning in the first four to twelve weeks with continuing improvement over the following months.

Want More Information?

If you would like additional information about using stem cell therapy to treat back pain and annular tears, please contact our staff here at ThriveMD. Our medical director, Dr. Scott Brandt, has trained extensively across the country and is one of the nation’s top stem cell therapy doctors. He can educate you regarding your options and help you choose an annulus tear treatment that is right for you.

 

Next Step

If you believe you or someone you care about could be a candidate for stem cell therapy administered by a trusted clinic, please contact us today.

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Linda Gerrans
Linda Gerrans
19:37 14 Dec 17
When I was told by an orthopedic doctor I needed double knee replacement I chose stem cell therapy instead. Stem cell therapy has helped me get through my days without the pain I was experiencing and enjoy the activities I was unable to because of the pain.
John Beeman
John Beeman
23:05 08 Jan 17
I just wanted to give an update regarding the stem cell procedure performed by Dr. Brandt at Thrive about 3 years ago. My range of motion continues to improve--remarkable at 64.I skied 150k in 5 days last week and never iced my knee once. I can't remember skiing that many feet w/out having to ice in the last 20 years. The knee treated has been without an acl since I was 18 and is pretty severely arthritic,but I am getting better performance now than I have in recent memory. Thank you, Dr. Brandt!!
Lisa Harris
Lisa Harris
15:59 02 Jan 17
After struggling with an Achilles injury for 1 1/2 years and trying everything to heal it - steroid, physical therapy, wearing a boot, no activity, stretching, etc - I decided to have stem cell therapy at Thrive.md. It was a short procedure and an afternoon of post op recovery, which after 6-8 weeks, resulted in a full recovery from my injury. This seemed to finally stimulate blood flow and healing to an injury I had resigned myself to having forever. I highly recommend this procedure for tendon injuries like this one.
Zvezdomir Zamfirov
Zvezdomir Zamfirov
03:55 14 Nov 16
I am a pain management physician myself. I am 52, and physically very active. I still play soccer competitively. Six months ago I suffered a hip injury with a labrum tear. Due to the pre-existing wear and tear, the only conventional treatment, which was offered to me was total hip replacement. I wanted to remain physically active and continue to play sports, so I decided that this is not the best option for me. I choose instead to try stem-cell therapy. Ten days ago I had my procedure done by Dr. Brandt, and since then I have nothing but positive things to say about him and his practice. Everyone in his office was extremely welcoming and put me at ease and comfort about my procedure. The procedure went very smooth. And I did not have ANY post procedure pain or discomfort. I had no need for any pain medication. I was back to work seeing patients on the 2nd day after the procedure. My hip already feels noticeably better. I have the second procedure scheduled in four weeks, and I am confident that in another 3-4 weeks I'll be back playing soccer again. Thank you, Dr. Brandt and team for taking such excellent care of me.
John Reilly
John Reilly
13:44 04 Nov 16
I saw Dr Brandt on 8/8/16 for a lower back stem cell injection. From the injection, I got a serious infection in my lower spine. As a result, I spent 2 days in the Vail hospital and have been on daily IV antibiotics for the past 8 weeks. A few weeks after the injection, I started feeling increased pain which was a different pain than before my injection. It was much sharper and a shooting pain. I communicated this information to Dr Brandt and his staff. There only response and treatment was stronger pain meds. oral and injected steroids (the worst thing to do when an infection is present). The pain became so intense and debilitating, I finally made an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. Their team quickly discovered from listening to my symptoms and reviewing a new MRI that I had an infection. I also discovered from a search on DORA that over the past 13 years Dr Brandt's has a history of incidents with the DORA which regulates medical professionals. Over this time, his license was suspended for a period of time and is he currently practicing on probation through 2019. At one point, the AG said he was unfit to practice medicine.
Laurel Wilkerson
Laurel Wilkerson
21:22 08 Aug 16
Great job by the Thrive MD team in Edwards. With a torn achilles tendon, I was really opposed to surgery. When I discovered Dr. Brandt and team, I was thrilled. They are most professional and explained every step of the process and procedure for treatment options. I am on the road to recovery, and I am so thankful to have discovered Thrive. Before you let an orthopedic doc operate, take the time to explore and discuss stem cell therapy. Thrive MD made the process easy and convenient. Thanks! One year later update - ankle is doing great. Skied 52 days in 2015-16. Hiking, biking and all are no problem. Great team of caring people who know their business.
Brad Jones
Brad Jones
00:27 19 Feb 16
Dr. Brandt and his entire staff are amazing! Early in the ski season I had a partial tear in my ACL and thought I would be out until the next year for sure. However after consulting with Thrive MD they informed me that I was a good candidate for stem cell therapy. I went through the procedure and went from barely being able to walk with crutches to walking comfortably and normally within three weeks! I was back at work quickly and just got back on the mountain recently. My knee feels very solid and I have ZERO issues with it. Thank you Thrive MD for saving my ski season!
Karen Taylor
Karen Taylor
02:10 09 Dec 15
I am so happy to have found Thrive this past summer. After being told by 3 Dr's that I need a knee replacement I was feeling very discouraged. 2 1/2 years ago I had a very bad skiing accident and destroyed my tibial plateau. After surgery and physical therapy I was no where near where I wanted to be functioning physically. I couldn't hike, ski, or basically do anything active without constant pain. I went to Thrive and got my hormones balanced, got my energy level back up to where I like it to be and had several stem cell treatments on my knee. It was not an instant fix, but over the past 6 months it has continually started to feel better. I just skied 3 hard days in a row in Beaver Creek, with no swelling and very little pain! I am back to functioning at about 80% of my capacity. I'm thrilled with the progress and hope to continue to improve as I continue to be active this winter. I am so happy not to have a knee replacement and to be able to keep my own knee. Thank you Dr. Brandt.
Sylvia Baldwin
Sylvia Baldwin
00:00 26 Apr 15
Dr. Brandt is the best! I've been seeing him altogether for around 15 years now for corticosteroid injections for pain and would never want to see anyone else. He is very skilled with the needle and getting the injections done in exactly the right places. In addition, I've found Dr. Brandt to be a very concerned and caring individual; he's a great listener who clearly gives a lot of thought to what the best approach is going to be in dealing with the situation the patient describes. I've found that he always takes as much time as necessary to assess the situation; dealing with Dr. Brandt is such an entirely different experience than virtually every other meeting I've had with various surgeons and other M.D.'s. His staff is also very friendly, helpful and kind--as I said, he's the best...and well worth the drive to Edwards!
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