Degenerative Disk Disease
Non-Surgical Treatments for
Intervertebral Disc Pain
Many patients have now had regenerative medicine treatments for lower back pain especially lower back pain due to degenerative disc disease.
Biologic injections into the disc may calm the inflammation, reduce pain, and help repair the flattened, brittle or protruding disc. It is an alternative to surgical removal of the disc or fusion surgery.
Beginning at middle age, our disc degeneration begins with the discs losing fluid, flattening and becoming more brittle. The flattening of the discs can lead to arthritis of the small joints of the back (the facet joints) as they lose their usual spacing. As discs become more brittle, they can develop tears which can be a source of pain from the discs themselves. The soft center of the disc (nucleus pulposus) is inflammatory and the fibrous ring (annulus) has a lot of nerve endings. A large tear in the fibrous ring can lead to a protrusion or extrusion of the soft center that may irritate a spinal nerve root causing radiating leg pains, commonly called “sciatica.”
Often, a painful disc will heal itself in a couple of months, but due to poor blood flow pain can become chronic. It is critical to establish the actual cause and specific location of your back pain before treatment. You will need an MRI of your lower back and a full new patient evaluation visit to us so we can establish or confirm the actual cause of your lower back pain. Then we can recommend the most appropriate treatment for you, which may be stem cell treatment for your back.
How Does Biologic Therapy for Degenerative Disc Disease Work?
The aim of using Biologic Therapy is to support the self-healing process of the affected joints, generate new tissue, repair the injury that induces pain, slow down (or even reverse) joint and disc degeneration and suppress inflammatory processes that may worsen pain, leading to symptom relief and recovery of the damaged area of the spine.
We can use a patient’s own Stem Cells to repair the damaged spinal joints or intervertebral discs naturally. Stem cells exist in high concentrations in bone marrow and fat, which can be aspirated with minimal discomfort, and then injected into the damaged area of the spine along with concentrated platelet rich plasma.
Additionally we use Platelet Rich Plasma which is obtained by a simple method of centrifugation of a sample of your own blood. Platelet Rich Plasma has a high concentration of growth factors that activate the stem cells and that prompt them to produce additional growth factors and anti-inflammatory cytokines.
Platelet Rich Plasma has been shown to be superior to local anesthetic and corticosteroid injections in treating lumbar facet joint syndrome.
An excellent treatment for Intervetebral Disc Tears is Intradisc Fibrin (Discseel®). This is a revolutionary procedure which injects Fibrin into intervertebral discs. This is able to repair and seal damaged spinal discs, where spine surgery, including spinal fusions, can’t.
Intradiscal Fibrin aims at healing disc tears. When injected into the targeted discs, fibrin works in two main ways. It immediately fills the tears in the discs. In the long term, it adds to the strength and stability of the intervertebral discs.
If the intervertebral discs are compressed or fractured we can inject them with cement to build them up. This procedure is called Kyphoplasty and can be very effective in treated disc compression fractures.