Stemcelldoc's Weblog

January 15, 2009

Alternatives to Lumbar Discectomy

Lower back paincan arise from many sources including facets, sacroillac joints, ligamental instability, muscular dysfunction and  the lumbar disc.  Discectomy is a   common surgical procedure for lower back pain where the disc bulge is surgically trimmed.  In the short term this may be beneficial but in the long term it can result  in progression of the degenerative process by compromising the integrity and blood supply of the disc.

The disc is composed of two principle components:  the  annular fibrous and nucleus pulpopus

annulus2

The annulus is a ring of strong ligamental fibers that encircle the inner core of the disc.    The nucleus pulpopus is the inner core and is compromised of jelly like material. The annulus fibrous functions to prevent the nucleus pulposus from leaking out. It is best thought of as the sidewall of a tire. It is also the only part of the disc that has a significant blood supply. 

A discectomycuts through the sidewall of the disc thereby weakening the fibers that contain the nucleus pulpopus and compromising the blood supply to the disc.

Regenexx offers patients an alternative to surgical therapies by using their own stem cells to regenerate the damaged sidewall of the disc.  To understand the potential of stem therapy please click video.

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January 11, 2009

Chronic Back Pain

Chronic lower back pain can arise from many sources.  Unfortunately many patients are not provided a thorough examination and evaluation by a physician specializing in pain management.  Often times patients are reflexively placed on muscle relaxants and narcotics with no effort to identify the source of  back pain.  If the pain does not resolve some patients are offered low back surgery.  Regrettably both of these options to treat chronic back pain have the potential of making it worse.  At the Centeno-Schultz Clinic we are committed to identifying the source of  lower back pain so the correct treatment plan is selected.

For example, chronic back pain due to a disc bulge with compression on the nerve can be successfully treated with a stem cell injection into the disc. Patients now have the option of using their own stem cells to repair lumbar disc bulge at Regenexx.

Below is an MRI of the lower back.  On the left, note a disc bulge.  On the right, following a stem cell injection there is a marked reduction in the disc bulge.  The patient had 100% pain relief.

regenexx-lumbar-disc-info-patientonly-jpg

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