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Study Shows That Stem Cells Injections Can Treat Back Pain From Degenerated Lumbar Discs

Introduction:

The spinal discs are rubbery structures between each vertebrae of the spinal column. They act as shock absorbers that allow for spinal movement. Injuries and wear and tear of the spine can cause spinal discs to break and degenerate. This can lead to back pain, muscle spasms as well as nerve symptoms into the extremities. A recent study has shown that injections of stem cells into the lumbar discs can provide long term pain relief as well as improve the health and function of the spine.

Understanding Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cells are highly specialized healing cells that orchestrate the healing process. The best and most studied source of stem cells is from the patient’s own bone marrow. Bone marrow can be easily withdrawing from the pelvic bones and processed in a centrifuge to concentrate the stem cells. Bone marrow stem cells have been shown to be safe and effective at treating a multitude of musculoskeletal conditions.

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The Study:

In 2017, Dr. Pettine published his study results in the journal of International Orthopaedics. He treated 26 patients with moderate to severe lumbar disc degeneration who were candidates for lumbar fusion or disc replacement surgery. Each patient received injections of their own bone marrow stem cells into the degenerated lumbar discs. Their pain and functional scores were followed for 3 years after the injection. Lumbar MRI was repeated 1 year after the injection.

The Results:

The treatment was safe without any complications. During the 3 year period, only 6 patients proceeded to surgery while 20 of the 26 patients achieved significant improvement (77% responders). At ~ 3 months, their pain decreased on an average from 8.2 to 2.2 on a 10 point scale. This was a 73% decrease in pain that was sustained throughout the 3 years of the study.

There was a 70% decrease in disability scores (70% improvement in function) that also sustained during the 3 years. The disc appearance on the follow up MRI improved in ~ 40% of the patients, this did not correlate with any symptom outcomes. Patients who had higher concentrations of stem cells did better overall.

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Conclusion:

Bone marrow stem cells injections are a safe and effective treatment for chronic back pain due to degenerated lumbar discs. When directly compared to surgery, bone marrow stem cells injections are more effective, less expensive and easier to recover from than disc replacement and fusion surgeries.

Are You a Candidate for Spinal Stem Cell Injections ?

Watch Dr. Sebastian Perform Spinal Stem Cell Injections

References:

  • Pettine, Kenneth A., et al. “Autologous bone marrow concentrate intradiscal injection for the treatment of degenerative disc disease with three-year follow-up.” International orthopaedics 41 (2017): 2097-2103
SWFL Low Back Pain Specialist

Southwest Florida's Chronic Pain Specialist

Dr. Sebastian Klisiewicz

D.O. Osteopathic Physiatrist, Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation