Back pain can be a crippling issue, and when it becomes chronic, it can greatly interfere with everyday activities. Although traditional treatments normally don’t work well in relieving this type of pain, stem cell therapy for back pain can be a safe and highly effective approach, as it optimizes your body’s natural ability to heal itself. Here at Right Path Pain and Spine Center in Davenport, FL, we’ve had amazing results when treating our patients with this particular therapy.
Can Stem Cell Therapy Help Treat Back Pain?
Treatment with stem cells can help improve or eliminate back pain. Stem cells locate injuries in the body by detecting signals from other cells, and once they make their way to an injury, they go to work by repairing it and recruiting other cells to do the same. Not only are stem cells able to reduce inflammation in tissues and joints, but they can also repair fibrocartilage, which is what intervertebral discs in the spine are mostly made from.
At the site of injury, they can multiply and then convert themselves into whatever type of cells are needed for repairs to happen, regardless of whether it’s bone, cartilage, muscle, skin, or other types of cells. They also use paracrine signaling, which is a way of messaging your innate immune system so that it can mobilize other types of cells to the area to reduce inflammation and heal injuries.
What Type of Stem Cells Are Used?
The stem cells we use for this therapy are mesenchymal stem cells, which are taken from your own body, so there’s less risk of your body rejecting them. These stem cells are known for being versatile, so there is a wide range of different back conditions that we can treat with them.
Also, we only need to take a very small amount of these cells during the extraction process because they’re able to multiply on their own once we re-introduce them back into your body. Although they’re taken from bone marrow near your hip, they can work more effectively towards relieving your back pain when we concentrate them on injured areas.
What Should I Expect During My Appointment?
After a quick consultation, you can expect the following steps during treatment, which can take anywhere between 45 minutes to a few hours:
1. We Extract the Stem Cells
We’ll start your therapy session by extracting bone marrow that contains your stem cells from your body, typically from your hip, in a process called aspiration. This is performed with a needle and is normally a painless process, as we’ll apply an anesthetic beforehand. This is a very quick step and because it’s minimally invasive, it’s done on an outpatient basis where you’re fully awake.
2. The Cells Are Concentrated
The stem cells are then concentrated in a machine called a centrifuge, which normally takes anywhere between 10 to 15 minutes, and we’ll ensure that you’re comfortable while you wait during this process. The stem cells, as well as platelet-rich plasma and growth factors, are separated from the bone marrow, so you’ll receive a highly concentrated injection of healing agents.
3. The Injections Are Made
We’ll then inject the stem cells back into your body, along with the growth factors and platelet-rich plasma, in the area where your pain is located. Depending on your condition, we may need to use X-ray technology to support this if you have issues with any of your spinal discs and need these treated.
What Is the Recovery Period Like?
As a minimally invasive treatment, stem cell therapy for back pain doesn’t result in any downtime, and some movement throughout the day can be quite healthy. However, we’ll recommend that you stick to light activities with no strenuous exercise for the first few days, and we may also recommend physical therapy in some cases, depending on the cause of your back pain and where in the back it’s located.
You may experience some minor soreness in the treated area for a week or so, which is completely normal. You should refrain from taking any NSAIDs during this time though, as anti-inflammatory medications can affect the results of this treatment because they can interfere with the body’s immune response.
How Soon Will I See Improvements?
After the stem cells are injected into your body, they can continue to repair damage for quite some time. So while you may see some improvements quickly, it might take many months for the full results to be seen and up to a year in some cases. Most patients report the first noticeable effects starting within the second month after treatment.
Because this therapy can stimulate your immune system, improvements can continue to happen over time as your body plays catch-up to repair injuries that it should have repaired on its own prior to treatment. Because everybody has different types of injuries to their backs and different severity levels when it comes to degenerative damage, as well as different immune responses, one patient may respond much sooner than another.
How Long Will the Effects Last?
The effects of stem cell therapy for back pain can last for any amount of time, and in many cases, the results can last forever, depending on different factors. If you’ve had a chronic injury for some time where the body wasn’t able to fully recover for whatever reason, this treatment can sometimes be just the push your immune system needs to finish the job and heal the injury.
These stem cells have also been shown to reverse the degenerative process that often occurs in intervertebral discs, so a single treatment may be all that’s needed to improve pain and function. However, in some cases, multiple treatments may be necessary before a chronic injury heals, and for some issues, such as those that are age-related, you may need to have regular treatments once a year to maintain the results.
Stem Cell Therapy for Back Pain Benefits
In addition to its pain-relieving benefits, this therapy can be effective in the following ways:
The stem cells used in his therapy are immunomodulators, which means that they can change how the immune system reacts, and this can be very useful for reducing inflammation. By recruiting regulatory T cells, which help to suppress inflammation, these stem cells can help to minimize inflammation in the back, whether it’s muscles, tendons, joints, or cartilage that’s inflamed.
Repairs Damaged Tissue
Stem cells can also repair damaged tissue, such as back muscles, in many different ways. The most common way they do this is by secreting growth factors at the site of an injury, which work as signals to encourage other types of cells, such as lymphocytes, to start the repair process. Another way they do this is by differentiating, or changing themselves, into other types of cells and directly repairing tissue themselves.
This therapy can also reverse the course of degenerative conditions in some cases, such as degenerative disc disease, which is a common cause of severe back pain and mobility issues. They’re capable of doing this by regenerating the disc itself, which is made up of cartilage and fibrous tissue. Not only are mesenchymal stem cells capable of repairing cartilage, but they can also regenerate the ligaments that connect the vertebrae together in the spine.
Improves Spinal Function
Injuries or degenerative issues with the spine can affect your spinal function and you may not be able to perform the same types of everyday activities that you once did. By reducing pain, minimizing inflammation, and repairing damaged cartilage, ligaments, and other types of tissue, this treatment can restore your mobility over time by improving the way your spine functions.
Maintains Spine Alignment
Through all the previously mentioned mechanisms, this therapy can also help when it comes to maintaining spine alignment. When your discs have degenerated or your back muscles have become injured, your movements and posture can change, which can affect the spine’s shape over time. Once all these other issues are addressed, your spine is at less risk of this happening.
Schedule With Us Today
Back pain can affect just about anyone at any age, and when left untreated, it can completely disrupt a person’s life and affect everything from their comfort to their ability to work. Contact us at Right Path Pain and Spine Center in Davenport, FL today to get started with this treatment, and we’ll be ready to help you alleviate your back pain in every way we can.