Research into alternative cellular treatment options over the past several years has steadily given rise to an exciting time for medical practitioners and their patients. While we’ve long known the benefits of treating many cancers and blood-related illnesses with bone marrow transplants, scientists now have evidence that stem cell therapy can also be used to possibly ease debilitating back pain, as well.
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Thus, instead of facing an invasive surgical procedure, which often carries the risk of complications, as well as an extended recovery period, patients can now consider a significantly less traumatic injection of stem cells to potentially speed healing, thereby easing back pain, reducing inflammation and increasing overall mobility and function in a shorter amount of time.
What is the Stem Cell Therapy Process?
Unlike traditional surgical treatments, stem cell injections for back pain are minimally invasive and less painful to endure; the whole process takes approximately three to four hours, beginning with the harvesting of adult stem cells and growth factors from a patient’s own body. Collecting autologous biologics not only eliminates the risk of rejection and disease transmission, it can be done in the comfort of a doctor’s office, thus minimizing some of the risks linked to incision wounds and increased exposure to nosocomial infections. Furthermore, many surgical options for back pain exacerbate mental and bodily stress, which can ultimately slow or negate full recovery; stem cell injections counter many of these possible effects.
The procedure is fairly straightforward here at ThriveMD: following IV sedation and the application of a local anesthetic administered to the harvesting site(s), patients undergo the actual stem cell harvesting. An experienced stem cell therapy doctor and/or team collects fat-derived stem cells from a patient’s abdomen or flank using mini-liposuction, bone marrow-derived stem cells from the iliac crest via a needle aspiration and platelet-rich plasma from his or her blood via a blood draw (usually in the arm). The recovered stem cells, growth factors and proteins from each of these sites are then separately isolated/centrifuged and made into a concentrated aspirate that a trained physician directly injects into the affected tissue using live x-ray or ultrasound guidance. It is believed that the regenerative qualities of all these biologic materials have the potential to facilitate natural healing processes within the patient’s own body.
After the procedure, patients return home that day to recover.
Recovery from a Stem Cell Injection
One of the main advantages of a stem cell injection over surgery to treat back pain is the shortened recovery time it offers. After a stem cell procedure, patients walk freely out of our clinic. It is not uncommon for them to return to work within one or two days, to resume normal activities within six weeks and to experience a meaningful lessening of pain within 4-12 weeks. Traditional surgical treatments usually have recovery times that far exceed these kinds of therapeutic results.
A follow-up appointment one month after a stem cell treatment includes the administration of one of the following types of injections: a PRP injection, a bone marrow concentrate injection, a placental exosome injection or an alpha-2-macroglobulin injection into the damaged area previously treated. The combination of these two steps frequently offers patients lasting benefits, enabling them to forgo future surgical interventions and return to normal or near normal functioning quicker than other types of treatments.
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The regenerative capacity of stem cells and other biologic materials makes stem cell therapy an exciting treatment option for many types of patients with both chronic degradation and acute injury to the back. To find out if it might be an option for you or a loved one, please contact our team at ThriveMD