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Regenerative Treatments To Relieve Low Back Pain

  • Category: Pain Management
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Ben Newton, M.D.

StemCell ARTS is an affiliate of National Spine & Pain Centers. Our focus at StemCell ARTS is to improve our patients’ pain and function through interventional orthopedic procedures using orthobiologics such as autologous stem cellsplatelet rich plasma (PRP), platelet growth factors and prolotherapy. StemCell ARTS offer different regenerative treatments to relieve low back pain.

We help our patients continue to live their life they want at the level of activity that they can be happy with and with less recovery time than an invasive joint replacement or spinal surgery. We treat patients from all walks of life including athletes, middle school through professional, injured and aging warriors to senior citizens. We use only the researched-based Regenexx protocols and advanced interventional techniques to do these regenerative procedures and we are seeing great results!

Basic Fact Sheet about Low Back Pain

  • 80% of adults experience back pain
  • Most common cause of job-related disability and leading contributor to missed workdays
  • Incidence: men = women
  • Types: acute (lasts days to a few weeks), subacute (lasting 4-12 weeks), chronic (lasting >12 weeks)

Causes of Low Back Pain

  • Age: initial occurrence usually 30-50 years of age
  • Low-level fitness level: weekend warriors or sedentary-during-the-week-but-active-on-weekends folks are at an increased risk of low back injury
  • Weight: increased weight will add stress to the discs and joints
  • Pregnancy: pelvic changes and weight distribution low and anteriorly stress the lumbar spine
  • Occupational: heavy lifting, pushing, pulling especially when it involves twisting
  • Genetics: some patients have congenital (born with it) predisposition to back pain due to their genetic makeup

How is Low Back Pain Diagnosed?

  • Physical exam: physician/medical provider
  • Imaging: MRI, CT, x-rays, bone scans, blood work

How is Low Back Pain Treated?

  • Traditional approaches: heat/ice, activity, physiotherapy, medications, chiropractic, traction, acupuncture, biofeedback, corticosteroid injections nerve ablation, spinal cord stimulation and surgery.
  • Regenerative treatments include prolotherapy, platelet rich plasma (PRP), platelet growth factor epidurals and stem cells. These treatment options are great for pinched nerves causing radiation pain to the hips or legs, facet (joint) pain, instability, disc pain or SI joint pain and weakness.
    • Prolotherapy is a solution of dextrose, normal saline, and local anesthetic used frequently to improve the stability of the ligaments of the lumbar spine and sacrum/pelvis by injecting specific ligaments and supporting structures of the lumbar spine: the supraspinous, intraspinous, iliolumbar, deep dorsal ligaments of the SI joint. Joints also benefit from prolotherapy. Therefore, injection of facet joints, hip and sacroiliac joints can also improve low back pain.
    • Platelet rich plasma: we draw the patient’s blood, like a lab test, and through specialized lab processing, we collect and concentrate the platelets for reinjection into the joints, tendons, and ligaments including the facet joints, sacroiliac (SI) joints, and loose ligaments and tendons.
    • Platelet lysate: we draw the patient’s blood, like a lab test. In our office, we have an ISO-5 lab where we are able to process the platelets allowing us to concentrate all the good content (growth factors, anti-inflammatories, chemotactic factors and signally molecules). We then inject this concentrated growth milieu into the epidural space and peripheral nerves where it can help with nerve irritation (sciatica, radiculopathy).
    • Stem cells: autologous (comes from the patient’s own bone marrow) are very potent cells that can help injured bone, ligament, tendon, cartilage, and muscle to heal. Stem cells are typically used in the spine when there is significant or recalcitrant facet joint pain/osteoarthritis (OA) and/or disc degeneration or injury.

All regenerative injections are done under guidance, using musculoskeletal ultrasound and/or fluoroscopy (x-ray). Results vary depending on the extent of injury/degeneration. Usually, a patient will get 1-3 injections to maximize their healing response. Not every patient is a candidate. We encourage patients to bring their imaging (x-rays, MRIs, CTs, etc) that’s been done within 2 years, as this will complement the exam. New imaging can be ordered as well.