What Causes Spinal Stenosis to Flare Up?

What Causes Spinal Stenosis to Flare Up?

Spinal stenosis flare up occurs when the spaces in the spine become narrow, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. Changes related to aging are a common cause for the condition, but it can also be a result of congenital factors; some people are simply born with a narrower spine. Other spinal conditions such as scoliosis can also be a risk factor for the condition. 

There are two regions where spinal stenosis can occur: the lower back or the neck. Common symptoms include pain in the affected area, as well as numbness or weakness in the arms and legs. Treatment for the condition may vary based on the severity of symptoms. For mild cases, doctors may simply recommend routine monitoring and home remedies such as pain relievers, heat and cold therapy, and exercise. In more severe cases, treatments such as a decompression procedure may be recommended to remove portions of ligaments that are compressing nerve roots. Spinal stenosis surgery is usually reserved for only the most severe cases, including those with pronounced pain or loss of bladder control. 

Avoiding Spinal Stenosis Flares

Because spinal stenosis is largely due to age-related factors, including bone and muscle loss, there’s no way to completely guarantee full prevention of spinal stenosis. With that being said, certain factors could contribute to the condition or cause flare-ups in existing cases. Here are some factors to watch for:

  • Being overweight: Carrying extra weight puts excess strain on the spine. Maintaining a healthy weight through a nutritional diet and exercise are good ways to control symptoms or minimize your risk for the condition. 
  • Smoking: Researchers have established a link between smoking and back conditions that require spinal surgery. In particular, smoking appears to increase the risk of a narrowed lower spinal space. Smoking cessation can help reduce the risk. 
  • Poor Posture: Your posture plays an important role in maintaining spinal health. Poor posture can shift the alignment of the tissues in the back, aggravating preexisting conditions such as spinal stenosis. Using ergonomic furniture and taking breaks to sit or stand frequently throughout the day helps promote good posture. 
  • Inactivity: Exercise keeps the muscles that support the spine strong, and can also help you maintain flexibility and balance. Periods of inactivity can have the opposite effect and may contribute to flare-ups. 

Tracking your symptoms is important with spinal stenosis flare up, as the condition can develop slowly over time. Lifestyle treatments and avoidance of known triggers may help to control your pain for a long time, but if you tried these methods and are still experiencing discomfort, it may be time to consider other treatment options. 

Some patients are discovering the healing potential of stem cell therapy options. The cells have the potential to help with inflammation, pain, and regeneration of tissues. It is important to have a regenerative medicine spine specialist review candidacy to determine if the outcome is optimal for the patient. Discover if you are a candidate with a complimentary assessment. 

Stem Cell Therapy & Chronic Pain

Stem Cell Therapy & Chronic Pain

Oftentimes, chronic pain sufferers are led to believe their discomfort is simply something they’ll have to endure. While home remedies such as heat and cold therapy and over-the-counter pain medications may provide some relief, it’s typically inadequate. This is despite the fact that an estimated 20% of the U.S. adult population experiences chronic pain. 

Whether it’s due to a previous injury, arthritis, or another culprit, chronic pain calls for a more effective approach. For this reason, experts have been studying the use of regenerative medicine to treat it. One therapy in particular which shows promise is stem cell therapy for chronic pain

Stem Cell Treatment for Chronic Pain 

Stem cells are the body’s cellular building blocks from which all differentiated cell types are derived. Not only can they transform into virtually any cell type, but they also have restorative qualities to help repair damaged tissue in the joints, cartilage, and tendons, among other areas. Plus, they can reduce inflammation for further healing benefits. 

Many people with chronic pain are ideal candidates for this treatment. People with degenerative diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, are among the prime populations who can benefit. In addition, performance athletes may receive stem cell therapy to repair joints and muscles which have been damaged by trauma. People whose pain doesn’t respond well to analgesic medications, including those with type 2 diabetes or anyone who has had amputation surgery can also benefit from stem cells. Research shows the cells can curb neuropathic pain, unlike many other treatments.  

For the more than 54 million people in the U.S. suffering from arthritis, stem cells can provide an alternative option to explore. Since the prevalence of arthritis is only predicted to increase over the next decade, finding a viable option to combat the pain is critical. Stem cell therapy has been studied to show promising outcomes as a non-surgical means to manage the common symptoms of arthritis, including the hips, shoulders, knees, and spine. Patients experience benefits such as improved mobility and flexibility, reduced pain and stiffness, and increased energy. 

In addition to these results, patients also experience benefits such as: 

  • Reduced downtime before returning to normal activities
  • Fast results 
  • Reduced inflammation

While stem cells may not be a cure-all for chronic pain, they are certainly an avenue worth exploring for anyone whose discomfort has persisted after using traditional approaches. Contact a Care Coordinator today for a free assessment!

How Can Stem Cell Therapy Help with Chronic Pain?

How Can Stem Cell Therapy Help with Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is the leading cause of long-term disability in the U.S. and affects roughly one-fifth of the adult population. Yet, despite its prevalence, treatments for chronic pain are often ineffective. Patients are often advised to use home remedies, such as NSAIDs or heat therapy, which can temporarily mask discomfort, only to have it return later. Prescription painkillers are habit-forming and carry a host of undesirable side effects. Surgeries are invasive and have their own risks, too. 

Understandably, people experiencing chronic pain seek an alternative, and the medical community is working hard to respond. Recently, researchers have begun exploring stem cell therapy as a more permanent and viable solution for chronic pain to heal the compromised tissue instead of simply masking symptoms. Here’s a look into what this regenerative medicine therapy could do. 

The Power of Stem Cells

Stem cells are the foundations for every specialized cell type in the body. They are at their most powerful during the embryo stage, when they transform into differentiated cells and multiply indefinitely to support fetal development. 

As we age, the body still retains some stem cells. Although they aren’t as strong as they were during the embryonic stage, they still hold enormous regenerative potential. For instance, following an injury, stem cells aid in the repair process, though they aren’t always as strong or in the quantity needed for a full recovery. 

Leveraging the Power of Stem Cells: Chronic Pain Fighters

Stem cell therapy calls on the body’s natural repair kit by taking the stem cells you already produce and redirecting them to problem areas, such as compromised joint tissue. The cells can either be extracted from the patient themselves, found in sources such as the bone marrow and adipose (fat) tissue, or provided via donors. They are then strategically administered to the area of damaged tissue, where the body accepts the healing agents. 

Once stem cells have been administered, they perform their job of minimizing inflammation, as well as regenerating and repairing damaged tissue. Thus, they don’t simply mask pain, but actually work to heal the underlying issue. 

While there are many conditions for which stem cells are being used as a promising treatment, here are just a few of the most common issues related that they can treat:

  • Arthritis
  • Sports injuries
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Musculoskeletal injury
  • Persistent joint pain

If you’re experiencing an orthopedic, autoimmune, or degenerative condition causing chronic pain, stem cell therapy could hold the key to helping you lead a life with less pain. Contact a Care Coordinator today for a free assessment!

10 Tips for Relieving Chronic Pain

10 Tips for Relieving Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is a symptom of many conditions, including multiple sclerosis (MS), fibromyalgia, and arthritis, among others. It’s estimated that more than one-fifth of U.S. adults experience chronic pain, though that figure could be as high as 40%. Many forms of chronic pain continue to puzzle experts, and the symptom is often dealt with by prescribing prescription medications. Yet, because these drugs have side effects which can further diminish quality of life, many people with chronic pain look to holistic remedies to combat their discomfort. Here are a few options to consider.

1. Try acupuncture.

This ancient Chinese practice employs the use of thin needles strategically inserted at various meridians throughout the body to rebalance energy flow. Western medical experts believe the treatment may work to kickstart the body’s natural painkillers by stimulating specific tissue groups.

2. Go for physical therapy.

Physical therapists can teach you targeted exercises to control your pain or perform variations of movements that will make your day-to-day routine easier. You can then practice these exercises at home on your own time.

3. Practice yoga.

Gentle stretching may help alleviate tension in the muscles, and it can also help you develop a deep breathing regimen to deliver much-needed oxygen throughout the body.

4. Get ample sleep.

Poor sleep quality and insufficient sleep are both linked to pain. Sleep is an important indicator of overall health, so aiming for even just 30 minutes more per night could improve the way you feel. Keep your sleep environment cool, avoid any screens an hour before bed, and try to steer clear of caffeine later in the day.

5. Follow an anti-inflammatory diet.

Certain foods have been linked to inflammation, including heavily-processed foods. Eating plants like the Mediterranean diet have been touted by the likes of the Arthritis Foundation for reducing body-wide inflammation and thus controlling pain.

6. Release endorphins.

Endorphins are the body’s natural “feel-good” hormones which can help to curb discomfort. Get your release of them by trying low-impact exercises, such as swimming or cycling.

7. Apply heat.

Heat therapy is a popular option for dealing with chronic pain. Medicated patches, heating pads, and hot baths are a few options to try. You can also consider adding Epsom salts to your bath, which can further boost soothing potential.

8. Book a massage.

Nothing relieves sore muscles and releases tension like a massage. In particular, two to three 60-minute sessions per week have been found to alleviate chronic pain, which could be a result of massage’s ability to relax the body and addressing nerve fibers which are responsible for relaying pain messages.

9. Minimize stress.

The body/mind connection is indisputable. When you’re stressed, you’re more likely to hold tension in your muscles. Try to find healthy outlets for alleviating your stress, such as journaling, meditating, or seeing a mental health professional.

10. Try turmeric.

Turmeric extract has beneficial properties for minimizing pain caused by arthritis, and in some cases, it’s been shown to be as effective as ibuprofen for controlling joint inflammation. While it shouldn’t replace other therapies, it could be used alongside traditional treatments to further improve pain levels.

Alternative Treatment for Chronic Pain: Stem Cell Therapy

Alternative Treatment for Chronic Pain: Stem Cell Therapy

One in five adults in the U.S. reports having chronic pain, which amounts to 50 million people. As one of the most common reasons people visit their doctors, this frustrating symptom is linked to issues like restricted daily activities, dependence on prescription medications, anxiety and depression, and overall reduced quality of life. It can stem from many causes, including chronic conditions and lingering effects of previous injuries, and often intensifies with advancing age. Some of the most common conditions linked to chronic pain include arthritis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis. Alternative Treatment for Chronic Pain: Stem Cell Therapy.

Traditional treatments for chronic pain include over-the-counter pain relievers or opioids, along with non-medication techniques such as physical therapy, acupuncture, and exercise. Unfortunately, many patients find that the side effects of long-term pain medication can further diminish their quality of life, and other treatments often fall short when it comes to providing relief. It’s therefore no surprise that many of these patients willingly embrace new treatments, such as stem cell therapy.

Stem Cell Therapy as an Alternative Treatment for Chronic Pain

Stem cell therapy is a new form of regenerative medicine which uses the body’s natural regenerative healing mechanisms, stem cells, to repair and renew damaged tissue. These cells have the ability to self-renew and differentiate into other cell types. They also have immune-modulatory and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help address the swelling and discomfort that arises in many chronic conditions and injuries. Research suggests that their ability to home in on affected sites makes them a powerful means of treating inflammatory pain and trauma.

In patients with chronic pain, stem cells can be injected at appropriate sites to rebuild and regenerate tissue, suppress inflammation, and reduce the severity of symptoms. The treatment has been used for neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis, autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, and musculoskeletal injuries.

Although many chronic conditions still have no cure, stem cell therapy is a promising new alternative for treating them. It goes beyond simply masking symptoms to spur healing at a cellular level, thereby leading to stronger outcomes that can significantly improve the way of life for patients experiencing chronic pain. If stem cell therapy is something you are interested in then contact us today for a free consultation. 

What Are the Best Foods to Relieve Chronic Pain?

What Are the Best Foods to Relieve Chronic Pain?

Whether it’s from arthritis, fibromyalgia, or another chronic condition, persistent pain is frustrating at best. There are many therapies available to help reduce discomfort, but one often overlooked lifestyle change is refining your diet. In particular, there are a few foods known for combatting inflammation, a key agent behind chronic pain. Try incorporating some of these foods and ingredients into your diet to see if it makes a difference with your pain levels. Here are some of the best foods to relieve chronic pain:

Soybeans

Soybeans have an anti-inflammatory effect, which could be a result of their powerful, protective phytoestrogens and omega-3 fatty acids. While soybeans are commonly found in prepared products like tofu and soy milk, you can also enjoy them as a protein-rich snack in the form of steamed edamame.

Fish

Experts have been touting the benefits of fish for decades due to the food’s many health-boosting qualities. Cold-water fish, in particular, is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to curb inflammation. Reach for varieties like tuna or salmon for the greatest benefits.

Cherries

Delicious tart cherries are convenient, low-calorie snacks loaded with antioxidants. They’re also good sources of cyanidin, which has anti-inflammatory effects even stronger than that of vitamin E. The compound is known for reducing pain caused by arthritis and gout, in particular.

Turmeric

Turmeric’s most active compound, curcumin, is a potent anti-inflammatory agent which is believed to help control the symptoms of arthritis. It can also help to improve depression symptoms and even aid in the prevention of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease. Try the seasoning with your eggs, rice, or even in a smoothie.

Foods with Vitamin D

Interestingly, vitamin D deficiencies are very common among people with chronic pain. While experts are still unsure as to whether a deficiency could exacerbate existing pain or actually cause it in the first place, getting ample intake of this nutrient is clearly important for keeping discomfort at bay. With your doctor’s approval, consider taking supplements or getting vitamin D from sources such as fatty fish and egg yolks. Just try to steer clear of cow’s milk, which has inflammatory properties that may worsen pain.

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