Stemcelldoc's Weblog

October 19, 2009

Epidural Steroids Injections and Strokes

Epidural steroid injection are commonly used to treat lumbar degenerative disc disease, lumbar disc protrusions and herniations.

The epidural space contains fat, blood vessels and lymphatics.

epidural space

 

Steroid injections into the epidural space can inadvertently reach the blood vessels.

The significant is twofold.  First the patient is unlikely to get clinical relief of their pain since the injection went into the blood vessels instead of  the intended target:  the nerve root and disc.

The second is more concerning. Injection of steroids into the artery can result in stroke and death.  Dawley recently demonstrated the  arterial injection of steroids lead to cerebral hemorrhage by obstructing the microvasculture as well as the toxicity of the steroid.

I have previously blogged on the mounting concerns over steroid injections.

Alternative  therapies for spine and joint pain include PRP, activated PRP, prolotherapy and autologous stem cell therapy.

January 12, 2009

Lumbar Disc Bulges and Leg Pain

Lumbar disc bulges are a common cause of lower back and leg pain.  Common therapies for lumbar disc bulgesinclude physical therapy, lumbar traction, inversion table therapy and lumbar epidural steroid injections.  The goal of therapy is to decrease the disc bulge and its compressive effect on the nerve root.  If nerve compression is left untreated, it can result in permanent leg pain and weakness.

disc-bulge

Lumbar epidurals steroid injections should always be performed under x-ray to ensure accurate placement of the medication. The epidural space is the area immediately outside the spinal cord and is adjacent to the lumbar disc.

epidural-space1

 

 

 If a lumbar epidural steroidis performed without x-ray there is no guarantee that the medication will get into the epidural space let alone on the irritated nerve root and disc.  At the Centeno-Schultz Clinic all lumbar epidurals are performed under x-ray.  Injection of contrast prior to the injection medication, ensures accurate placement. The x-ray below demonstrates contrast flowing along the right L5 nerve root with extension into the epidural space.

epidural-injection-unders-x-ray

If conservative therapy or lumbar epidural steroid injections fail to provide sustained pain relief, patients now have the option of using their own stem cells to repair their lumbar disc bulges using the Regenexx procedure.  Regenexx is a simple needle in-needle out procedure which affords patients the opportunity to avoid the risks of surgery and anesthesia and repair disc bulges.

Review the video below on how stem cells can be used to treat disc bulges.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zI7TQzV

January 11, 2009

Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections

Lumbar epidural steroid injections are a common therapy for patients with lower back and leg pain as  a result of a disc bulge or herniation.   If the disc is bulging or herniated it can compress the nerve root causing leg pain and or weakness.

The epidural space is a area around the spinal cord and is adjacent to the disc.

epidural-space

Injection into this space allows medication to bathe the irritated nerve root and disc.   One can think of an epidural steroid injection as putting water on a large fire.  At the Centeno-Schultz Clinic all epidural steroid injections are performed under x-ray to ensure accurate placement of medication.  Unlike other clinics,  we do not use the conventional high concentrations of steroids.  For example most epidural steroid injections use  4 or more milligrams of steroids.  At the Centeno-Schultz Clinic we use only nano-grams concentrations because it is closer to the dose that the body uses naturally.  It also avoids the adverse effects of steroids which include suppression of immune and renal function, itching, increase in epidural fat, deterioration of the outer annuls of the disc, insomnia and weight gain.  If steroid therapy is not effective or not attractive to the patient,  through Regenexx we have the ability to inject natural growth factors  such as platelet lysate of VEGF supernatant into the epidural space.  These factors not only provide an anti-inflammatory effect for the irritated nerve and disc but they also promote increased blood blow to the disc and therefore healing.

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