Back pain can be a debilitating condition. Studies by The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) continue to find it the leading cause of YLD (years lived with disease) and one of the most common reasons for lost workdays in many industrial, as well as developing, countries. Indeed, it’s estimated that approximately 80% of the global population will experience back pain at some point in their life, with at least 7% of our world’s 7.7 billion people being affected at any given time.
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The high prevalence of back pain makes alleviating it a priority not only for the people who suffer with it, but for the physicians who treat it and the businesses who lose workers to its effects. In the past, back pain treatments were limited to exercise, physical therapy and/or medication, with invasive surgery being a final option for the most severe cases. Ongoing research over the last thirty years, however, has led to the development of a promising new approach for back pain relief: stem cell therapy. Read on for answers to three of the most frequently asked questions we hear from our patients here at ThriveMD:
What is Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem cells are basically cells that can “transform” into many different types of cells. There are two main types — embryonic (which only exist during fetal development) and adult (which come from fully developed tissues) — both of which are different from other cells in the body because 1) they have the ability to self-replicate and 2) while they might not have a tissue-specific function, they can, nevertheless, develop them over time. Only adult stem cells are used clinically to treat orthopedic conditions.
Stem cell therapy is a medical treatment that aims to help the body repair itself by injecting stem cells into tissues that are diseased, injured and/or diminished by age with the expectation that they will proliferate and eventually replace the damaged cells, improving function and mobility and lessening pain.
What Types of Back Pain Conditions Can Benefit from Stem Cell Therapy?
At ThriveMD, we use stem cells to treat a variety of chronic back pain conditions, including degenerative disc disease (DDD), herniated discs, sciatica and spinal facet disease. On some occasions, we also treat acute and sub-acute injuries.
How Do Stem Cells Work to Alleviate Back Pain?
Treatments using stem cells for back pain make use of only adult stem cells which are harvested from a patient’s own body and then reinjected into his or her damaged vertebral disc or facet joint. Once injected, the stem cells start to generate healthy cells, beginning a natural regenerative process, which have the potential to repair tissue structure, restore function, reduce inflammation and, ultimately, relieve pain.
Have More Questions?
Choosing to undergo any medical procedure is an important decision that should be made in consultation with an experienced medical professional. While stem cell therapy is a valid treatment option for many people under a variety of circumstances, it’s not always the right choice for everyone. To find out if you or someone you care about could benefit from using stem cells for back pain, please contact ThriveMD.