Back pain is a nearly ubiquitous experience. Around 80% of adults will experience severe back pain at some point. Around 10% will experience pain that is chronic and impairs their ability to participate in their normal daily activities.
The conventional answer for a number of causes of chronic back pain has been surgery. While this can provide relief for many people, others do not see improvement or deal with severe pain and lack of mobility during healing. Many still find themselves dependent on prescription pain relievers even after surgical treatment.
Emerging research is showing more and more benefit from advanced therapies like regenerative medicine. These minimally invasive procedures use the body’s innate healing abilities to potentially improve the issues that cause back pain.
Regenerative Therapies for Back Pain
Regenerative medicine has been used for pain relief for many years. These therapies take advantage of the body’s own healing abilities and utilizing them by delivering substances that can allow the body to promote healing more effectively. In some therapies, the body’s ability is increased with the use of growth factors that aid in healing. In others, undifferentiated cells are delivered to the damaged or injured area and then used by the body to promote healing.
Platelet-Rich Plasma Treatment
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy involves concentrating the platelets naturally found in a patient’s blood and directly delivering them to injured tissue. Platelets are the cells in the blood that are responsible for healing. Studies show platelets will naturally gather around an injured area.
PRP therapy was first developed in the 1970s. In 1987, it was successfully used for the first time, as part of an open heart surgery in Italy. While this therapy was originally only used in hospital settings, advances in equipment have made it accessible to outpatient offices where its use has been instrumental in dentistry, cosmetic surgeries, pain management and sports medicine.
The number of studies on PRP therapies has dramatically increased in the past decade, and more and more practitioners are learning about the benefits of this non-surgical, highly effective therapy.
With PRP therapy treatments most people report experiencing only mild discomfort at the injection site after treatment. This can be soothed with the use of ice packs a few times a day during healing. Most people can go back to work very soon after treatment. Current studies reflect the treatment begins to work in the weeks and months after treatment, with many patients experiencing full effects within six months.
Amniotic Membrane Therapy
The amniotic membrane protects the fetus during development. Amniotic membrane tissue is unique in that it is the only human tissue that is considered universally appropriate for implantation, with a very low risk of rejection. The suppliers we use utilize tissue that is donated during elective Cesarean births and tested extensively for safety.
The procedure is done on an outpatient basis, and most individuals are able to return to their normal activities soon after treatment. Once the treatment material is in place, the body begins using it in the process of healing. Most report people beginning feeling an improvement in weeks, with full effects taking several months.
Spinal Conditions Treatable with Regenerative Medicine
There are a number of issues that can occur in the spine and lead to pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. We work with you to diagnose the cause of your back pain and to identify the best treatment option for you. Conditions that can respond well to regenerative medicine include:
Between each vertebra in your spine are discs that act as soft cushions to absorb shock and allow for smooth movement. Each has an outer coating that is filled with a jelly-like substance. Sometimes, injuries can cause the material inside to bulge out of the disc. This is known as herniation. It can put pressure on nearby nerves, causing pain, tingling and weakness.
It is sometimes hard for herniated discs to heal on their own. Platelet-rich plasma can be injected into the injured area, where it will aid healing, help with inflammation and reduce pain. In some cases, allographic therapy is used instead to aide in healing.
Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage, the slippery, cushioning material between bones, begins to break down. It was conventionally thought that cartilage could not be replaced once it had undergone degeneration. However, research into regenerative medicine has shown success slowing cartilage degradation and helping the body grow new, healthy cartilage between bones.
Allographic therapy has been particularly promising in this area. Patients have cells injected into the area where cartilage damage has occurred. In studies, patients treated with this therapy showed reductions in inflammation and experienced pain relief. The cells may also allow the body to grow new cartilage to replace what was lost.
Back and neck pain may be caused by a range of conditions that can include arthritis, herniation, muscle strain and more. When the pain is the result of tissue damage, studies show therapies that include PRP and allographic treatments may help.
These treatments take well under two hours and are performed on an outpatient basis. Most people begin experiencing relief within weeks and see full results within the next several months.
Degenerative disc disease refers to the pain that is caused by wear and tear injuries to the spinal discs. Over time, it can cause shooting pain, numbness and weakness in the arms or legs.
Allographic therapy has been investigated as a therapy in patients with disc degeneration and it causes over time. Amniotic tissue is a source of concentrated cells that can be used to aid the body’s own healing and help your discs regenerate tissue.
Every patient’s condition and care is individual. We give you the individualized attention you need and provide a range of treatments for the best possible outcomes. Are you living with chronic pain? We can help. Get in touch for a consultation today.