The spine is a complex structure made up of 24 bony vertebrae, cartilaginous intervertebral discs between each two adjacent vertebral bodies, two facet joints between each adjacent vertebrae, sacrum, coccyx, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The discs function as shock absorbers and the facet joints allow limited motion while providing stability at the same time. The muscles, tendons, and ligaments help hold it all together and allow us to flex, extend, and twist our necks and backs. All of these structures can degenerate and become injured with ensuing pain and limitation in activities. It can be difficult to diagnose which of these structures, or combination of these structures, is causing pain in any given patient as the pain characteristics and patterns tend to overlap. MRIs and clinical findings alone are insufficient and up to 85% of spinal pain cannot be accurately diagnosed without diagnostic interventional procedures. Fortunately, the Regenerative Medicine Specialists are experts in diagnosing and treating neck and back conditions causing pain.
The Regenerative Medicine Specialists can help relieve a variety of back and neck conditions without having to turn to steroid injections or surgery. Our doctors have in-office, same day procedures that utilize PRP and stem cell treatments to allow the patient’s own body to regenerate damaged tissues. This allows a range of different conditions to be treated without many of the risks and/or side effects associated with conventional treatments. This is groundbreaking technology that actually addresses the underlying condition, rather than just dealing with the symptoms. Let’s review some of the most common conditions to the back and neck. Please feel free to contact us if you suffer from any of these conditions and would be interested in learning how PRP or stem cell treatments can help relieve the pain and restore normal function.
Osteoarthritis (OA) of the facet joints, also known as wear and tear or degenerative arthritis, is caused by a deterioration of the cartilage that protects the bones in these joints. It tends to increase with age or by being overweight. The condition can affect any joint in the body, but is particularly common in the neck, lower back, hands, hips, and knees. Traumatic injuries, such as those due to accidents and work or sports injuries, can accelerate joint degeneration and lead to premature OA in younger people. The condition can be very painful and lead to significant interference with daily activities and quality of life. Facet arthritis in the neck can lead to cervicogenic headaches which tend to radiate into the face and behind the eyes. Conventional medical treatments sometimes fail to provide adequate relief and return to full function. Often, patients feel compelled to undergo surgery as a last resort in hopes of improving the situation, but there are no guarantees and results are usually irreversible. For this reason, it is best to exhaust all non-surgical options first. Through stem PRP and/or stem cell treatment, however, the damaged tissue will actually be enabled to regenerate and repair itself by using the body’s own cells. This is done in-office, meaning no hospitalization is necessary either. This is generally the best option to truly repair the condition and hopefully avoid surgery.
Degenerative Disc Disease
One of the most difficult problems to treat in the spine is pain emanating from a damaged intervertebral disc. Unfortunately, as we age, and especially if discs are injured along the way, our discs tend to degenerate over time. This can lead to annular tears and herniations as well. Painful discs have been difficult to diagnose and treat in the past and often, after failing more conservative measures, artificial disc replacement and/or spinal fusion surgery was considered the only option. This involves implanting hardware into the spine to fuse the vertebrae together at one or more levels. Results have been variable and after failing a first surgery, chances of improving drop off dramatically with each subsequent attempt. Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) is all too common and while some patients improve, many wish they had never had surgery in the first place. With stem cell or PRP treatment, however, you can use the cells of your own body to repair the damaged tissue, thereby avoiding the potential risks of more invasive treatment options. PRP and stem cell treatments get to work at restoring the damaged cartilage, thereby addressing the actual problem, rather than focusing on the symptoms. It gets to work at restoring the actual tissue that has been damaged, rather than masking the problem.
Scoliosis is an abnormal twisting curvature of the spine. The condition can consist of anything from a mild curve to a full deformity. In many cases it is completely painless and requires no treatment at all. It can, however, lead to accelerated degeneration of the discs and joints with associated pain and negative life impact (see arthritis and degenerative disc disease sections above)
Sacroiliac Joint Pain
The sacroiliac (SI) joint connects the spine, through the tailbone (sacrum), to the hip bones (ilia). The SI joint is like a very large facet joint at the bottom of the spine, and hence there are two SI joints, one right and one left. These can become damaged due to injury, illness, or general wear and tear, which can lead to instability and pain. Often there is a history of falling on the buttocks at some time in the past or can be related to childbirth. The pain can be severe and it is surprisingly common. Indeed, around a quarter of those with lower back pain actually suffer from SI joint pain. This pain is typically worst in the buttock but can radiate to the lower back and sometimes all the way down the leg. Often, conventional care does not provide relief and surgery can then be recommended which has it’s own risks including prolonged post-op pain and rehabilitation period. For this reason that PRP and/or stem cell treatment may be more appropriate. It avoids the needs for more invasive and painful procedures that are not always successful.
Coccydynia (Tailbone pain)
Tailbone (coccyx) pain can be very debilitating. It usually occurs when sitting or moving from a sitting to a standing position. It is usually the result of an injury such as falling on the tailbone. Childbirth can be another cause of the condition. Sufferers tend to notice pain during movement, as well as during defecation, intercourse, and menstruation. This condition has been especially resistant to conventional methods. Contact us if you suffer from this type of pain to see if you are a candidate for regenerative medicine treatments with your body’s own PRP and/or stem cells.
Whiplash is a very common injury, particularly in people who have been involved in car accidents. It occurs when the head snaps violently forwards and then backwards again, making it impossible for the ligaments and muscles of the neck to take the impact. In most cases, whiplash will go away on its own with anti-inflammatory medication but chronic cases will need other types of treatment. Unfortunately, chronic whiplash syndrome has proven difficult to treat successfully with traditional therapies. However, the revolutionary PRP and/or stem cell treatments offered at our clinic can solve the problem permanently and with virtually no down time from valued activities.
Myofascial Pain and Trigger Points
Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is a syndrome characterized by chronic pain caused by multiple trigger points and fascial constrictions. Characteristic features of a myofascial trigger point include: focal point tenderness, reproduction of pain upon trigger point palpation, hardening of the muscle upon trigger point palpation, pseudo-weakness of the involved muscle, referred pain, and limited range of motion. Any muscle or fascia may be affected but it is most common in the neck and back. The muscular pain is steady, aching, and deep. Depending on the case and location the intensity can range from mild discomfort to excruciating and “lightning-like” pain. Knots may be visible or felt beneath the skin. The pain does not resolve on its own, even after typical first-aid self-care such as ice, heat, and rest. MPS and fibromyalgia share some common symptoms, such as hyperirritability, but the two conditions are distinct. However, a patient may suffer from MPS and fibromyalgia at the same time. In fibromyalgia, chronic pain and hyperirritability are pervasive. By contrast, while MPS pain may affect many parts of the body, it is still limited to trigger points and hot spots of referred pain. In the past, various treatments could provide temporary relief but the condition would tend to recur over time. PRP and/or stem cell treatments can provide more lasting benefits. Contact us now to see if you are a candidate.
The interspinous ligaments are many and are responsible for holding the vertebral bodies together in proper alignment. They vary in size depending on their position in the back. Their role is to make sure the spine doesn’t over-extend. Inappropriate movement, such as twists, lifts and falls can usually cause these injuries. Injuries significantly limit mobility and can cause a lot of sharp pain.
As you can see, there is often no need for you to turn to more invasive treatments to deal with your neck or back problems. Instead, let the Regenerative Medicine Specialists review with you the other options that are out there. Our doctors are there to help you to allow your own body to regenerate and repair any damaged tissue, meaning you can live a life free from pain again. Contact us now to see if you are a candidate for one of our revolutionary regenerative medicine treatments.