Steroids Vs Stem Cell Therapy: Degenerative Disc Disease

Steroids Vs Stem Cell Therapy: Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is one of the most common and misunderstood causes of lower back pain and neck pain. Instead of referring to a specific ailment, degenerative disc disease is a catch-all term covering many conditions that arise due to general wear and tear on a spinal disc. Here we will talk about Degenerative Disc Disease: Steroids Vs Stem Cell Therapy.

The word “degenerative” implies that the symptoms occur in older people and worsen with age. However, it refers to the disc degenerating over time. While most patients with degenerative disc disease are in their 30s or 40s, it’s not uncommon to present in patients in their 20s. 

Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease

Patients with degenerative disc disease are generally active and otherwise healthy. Symptoms that many patients experience include:

  • Pain that is worse when sitting
  • Pain that worsens when bending, lifting, or twisting
  • Feeling better when walking or running than standing 
  • Periods of severe pain that come and go
  • Numbness or tingling in extremities
  • Weakness in arms or legs
  • Hot, shooting pain in the arms or legs

Most patients with degenerative disc disease experience chronic low-level pain with episodes of severe pain. 

Treatment Options for Degenerative Disc Disease

Many patients with degenerative disc disease experience relief from natural treatments or lifestyle changes that alleviate pressure and strengthen the muscles around the affected disc. These include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Weight loss
  • Personalized exercises

When these options don’t provide relief, medical interventions may be necessary. Medical practitioners’ standard treatments for degenerative disc disease are surgical intervention or epidural steroid injections. However, the emergence of regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, adds a new, viable option for degenerative disc disease.

Surgical Intervention

Surgical options for those suffering from degenerative disc disease may alleviate pain but don’t always address the root cause. The least intrusive surgical option is a microdiscectomy, removing the intervertebral disc fragments that cause pain by compressing the spinal nerve root. 

Another surgical option to treat degenerative disc disease is spinal fusion surgery. In this procedure, patients find relief through fusing the vertebrae around the injured disc, limiting the movement of the affected disc. 

Unfortunately, the fused vertebrae divert the pressure over time to other spine areas, and new problems often arise, such as herniation, stenosis, or spondylosis.

Lastly, some patients opt for a total disc replacement surgery, where an artificial disc replaces the affected disc. Total disc replacement surgery often sees the same outcomes as spinal fusion surgery. 

Epidural Steroid Injections

Many patients who want to avoid surgery find pain relief through steroid injections. Steroids provide powerful anti-inflammatory medications to the herniated disc, reducing the sensitivity of nerve endings and triggering the body’s natural healing process.

While steroid injections are an effective tool for treating disc herniation, they are less effective in treating deeper disc issues. 

Stem Cell Therapy

New research reveals that adult stem cells may effectively treat back pain caused by degenerative disc disease. Since the spine’s discs have a minimal blood supply, their ability to heal themselves is limited. 

However, stem cells’ uniqueness lies in their ability to repair damage. When injected into a damaged disc, they have the potential to regenerate the ligaments, repair soft tissue damage and promote healing. In some cases, stem cell injections restore disc heights to normal levels, and alleviate pain in. Relief and improvements have been reported to be felt within six months of therapy.

Treatments for degenerative disc disease have long fallen short of providing a long-term solution to ongoing pain. However, the emergence of stem cell therapy as a treatment offers new hope for those suffering from chronic back pain. If you are interested in learning more about steroids vs stem cell therapy contact a care coordinator today and schedule a free consultation. If you would like to take a look at some of reviews you can do so here!

How to Manage Herniated Disc Pain

How to Manage Herniated Disc Pain

Achy or sharp pain that radiates to the shoulder, arm, buttocks, or leg may be a sign that you have a herniated disc in your neck or back. Herniated discs occur in any part of the spine but are most common in the lower back. Depending on the location, the herniated disc may cause pain, numbness, or weakness in your arms or legs. Here we will talk about how to manage herniated disc pain.

What Is a Herniated Disc?

Your spine has 33 stacked vertebrae, which protect the spinal cord and nerves from injury. Between those bones are intervertebral discs. The discs serve as soft, rubbery cushions under constant pressure and act as the spine’s shock absorbers. 

Intervertebral discs consist of two parts: a soft, jellylike center called a nucleus, and a more rigid, flexible outer ring called an annulus. When the disc tears, leaks, or ruptures, the nucleus pushes out and puts pressure on the nearby spinal nerves. This is known as a herniated disc.

Most often, gradual, age-related wear and tear causes herniated discs. With age, the discs become less flexible and prone to tearing or rupturing with even minor strain or twists. 

Relieving Herniated Disc Pain

Herniated discs usually heal on their own over time, but they can still be painful. However, the following strategies often offer relief from herniated disc pain:

Reduce Inflammation and Tension

When you experience a herniated disc, the muscles around the disc may tighten to protect the area. Heat and cold therapy can reduce tightness and inflammation in the body around the disc, causing increased pain at the site.

Heat loosens muscle tightness, increases blood flow, and improves tissue elasticity. In contrast, cold produces an anti-inflammatory effect. 

Try applying heat to your back in the morning, before exercise, or for 10–15 minute periods throughout the day to release muscle tension. After exercise or at the end of the day, apply cold to the back to relieve inflammation. 

Exercise and Careful Movements

Lack of movement often aggravates herniated discs, as the muscles will lock up and weaken, providing less support to the spine. Low-impact exercise that your body tolerates may assist with pain relief. Exercises to consider include:

  • Walking
  • Using an elliptical trainer
  • Cycling on a recumbent bicycle

Patients with more severe pain may find that water exercises offer the most relief by providing buoyancy along with movement. 

Additionally, it’s important to use careful movements while your spine is recovering. For example, avoid standing for long periods, practice good posture, and try not to lift any heavy objects until your symptoms subside.

Myofascial Release or Massage

Myofascial release may improve back pain by manually putting pressure on trigger points. Both physical therapists and massage therapists often use this approach. You can perform myofascial release at home with a lacrosse or therapy ball or with a massage cane. 

First, identify points of tension or tenderness on your back. Then, maintain constant pressure on your trigger point for one to two minutes, allowing the muscle to release. After any myofascial release, apply cold therapy to the area to reduce inflammation from the pressure. 

If your herniated disc pain persists for more than four to six weeks, causes you to be unable to work, or causes numbness, weakness, or tingling in your arms and legs, you need to have your symptoms evaluated by a physician. If you want to learn more about options you have regarding how to manage herniated disc pain, contact us today and speak with a care coordinator.

Pain Management for Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease

Pain Management for Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease

If you suffer from neck pain or pain that radiates down the arm, you may have cervical degenerative disc disease (CDDD). CDDD develops with the cushioning in the discs of the cervical spine (the neck) begin to break down. This breakdown can happen due to injury, genetics, or normal wear and tear. Without the natural cushioning for protection, discs may become herniated, or the patient may develop spinal stenosis or osteoarthritis. Here we will talk about Pain Management for Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease.

Can I Avoid Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease?

Nearly everyone develops CDDD as they age. However, there are lifestyle changes you can make to help improve the health of your spine and cervical discs. In addition to protecting spine health, the following tips may help decrease pain for those who are already experiencing the degenerative process:

Eat a Healthy Diet

Moderating your intake of salt, alcohol, and caffeine may help keep your spine healthy, as can eating a balanced diet full of fresh food and lean protein.

Stay Hydrated

Discs lose water as they age, so proper hydration plays an important role in maintaining disc health. Water also helps to deliver nutrients to the spine and carry away wastes.

Exercise

Daily walking, light stretching, strength training, and other low-impact exercise helps maintain flexibility in the cervical joints and reduce pain associated with cervical degenerative disease.

Quit Smoking

Nicotine inhibits bone growth and decreases the amount of oxygen that gets delivered to the discs as well as the rest of the body’s systems.

Practice Good Posture

Proper alignment when you walk and sit helps to reduce pressure on the spine. This practice not only decreases the amount of wear on spinal joints but also decreases pain. This is great for pain management for cervical degenerative disc disease.

Treatments for Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease

Surgical treatments can often be avoided if non-invasive treatments are applied. Traditional pain management techniques include:

  • Prescription or OTC pain medications
  • Hot/cold therapy
  • Rest
  • Physical therapy
  • Massage, acupuncture, acupressure

Regenerative Medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, is a cutting-edge treatment offering potential to relieve pain from cervical degenerative disc disease.  

Patients who have recently developed CDDD symptoms, as well as those who’ve been living with the painful condition for many years, may benefit from safe, non-invasive stem cell treatment. Studies have shown that patients receiving stem cell therapy reported:

  • Fewer muscle spasms
  • Improved strength and mobility
  • A decrease in chronic pain levels
  • Less tingling, weakness, and numbness in extremities

Regenerative medicine may also help improve other orthopedic conditions such as sport’s injuries, osteoarthritis, and musculoskeletal injuries

Stem cell therapy is still considered experimental, and results are not guaranteed. However, it is a safe and minimally invasive treatment that could help CDDD patients manage their symptoms to help live a fuller, more active life free from chronic pain. If you are interested in learning more, contact us today and speak with a care coordinator.

Results for Stem Cell Treatment of Degenerative Disc Disease

Results for Stem Cell Treatment of Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is one of the leading causes of neck and low back pain in adults. This medical condition results in many symptoms. It is caused by wear and tear on the spinal discs. In this article, we are going to talk about Stem Cell treatment of Degenerative Disc Disease.

Aside from back and neck aches, degenerative disc disease can result in: 

  • Numbness
  • Hot or shooting pains
  • Weakness 
  • A “giving out” sensation
  • Muscle spasms and tension
  • And more

The most common symptom of this condition is constant and low-level pain. Chronic pain can make it difficult to live a normal life. Because of the discomfort that comes from degenerative disc disease, researchers are looking for innovative treatments to help patients live more comfortably.  

Recent Phase III Trial Results for Stem Cell Therapies 

A recent randomized Phase III trial has shown that stem cell injections can help patients with degenerative disc disease. According to the study, a single injection provided long-term relief of back pain. The study was conducted using stem cell products from Mesoblast Limited, an Australian regenerative medicine provider.

Representatives from the company hope to meet with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to speed up the approval of their product. The product in question is known as “remestemcel-L.” The company has been developing this stem cell product for several years.

Like many stem cell treatments, the product is made using bone marrow to harvest mesenchymal stem cells. Those cells are then injected into patients’ bodies to reduce inflammation. The product inhibits the development of certain inflammatory substances. Decreased inflammation reduces the patient’s pain.

According to the trial report, sixty percent of the injected patients reported little to no pain after a year. After two years, 54% reported minimal or no discomfort. The injections provided the most pain relief for patients who were in the early stages of the disease.  

Reduced Use of Opioids  

Studies like the one discussed above have given many patients and medical professionals confidence in the potential of stem cells. In the study by Mesoblast Limited, more than 400 volunteers participated. Many of the patients who experienced pain relief decreased their use of opioids. Across the study group, opioid use declined by 40%.

Patients in the control group who received a saline injection actually increased their use of opioids. Because of this, the company hopes that the FDA will fast-track the approval of remestemcel-L as a standard treatment for degenerative disc disease.

Future studies will be necessary to determine the full potential of stem cell therapies. Still, many patients have experienced significant improvements in their health and wellbeing by using stem cell therapies. If you are interested in using stem cell treatment for Degenerative Disc Disease contact a care coordinator today to learn more!

Six Remedies for Lower Back Pain Relief

Six Remedies for Lower Back Pain Relief

Lower back pain is a common issue many adults face. While it may resolve itself over time, you’ll still want to pursue ways to relieve discomfort in the meantime. Of course, any persistent pain should be addressed by a doctor, but here are some home remedies for lower back pain relief you can try first.

Get Moving

It may seem counterintuitive, but the right type of exercise could actually alleviate your back pain. Physical activity can increase blood flow to the lower back, which can help to loosen the muscles and accelerate healing. Moves that can strengthen the core and back, such as bridges, knee-to-chest stretches, and supermans may bring relief over time. Additionally, stick to low-impact cardio, such as swimming.

Use Hot/Cold Therapy

If you’re experiencing an acute back injury that’s lasted four weeks or less, use cold therapy such as a cool compress. Bringing your body temperature down can help reduce swelling and inflammation, and bring numbing relief. If you have chronic back pain, however, it’s a good idea to apply constant, low-level heat, such as a heated blanket or warming adhesive wrap.  

Stretch Regularly

Stretching moves can help reduce tension in the lower back and support mobility. Consider trying a yoga routine for your back. Moves like cat/cow, child’s pose, sphinx, and spinal twists can relax the back, mobilize the spine, and gently strengthen your muscles.

Assess Your Footwear

If you spend a lot of time on your feet, unsupportive shoes could be playing a role in your back pain. Look for a pair with cushioning and ample arch support, and avoid any heels. These distribute your weight improperly and could contribute to back pain. And, make sure you’re wearing the right size: shoes that are too snug will change your gait, putting excess strain on your back.

Find Ways to Beat Stress

Stress reduction is important for overall health, but especially for a healthy back. If your body is holding tension, it will likely manifest in the back and neck. Try to find healthy ways to minimize your stress. Deep breathing exercises, journaling, and spending time with loved ones to unwind can help.

Improve Your Sleep 

Getting ample sleep gives your body the opportunity to repair itself. Unfortunately, poor sleep posture can actually make existing back problems worse. Aim to maintain a neutral pose as you sleep, and try to stay on your back. Placing a small pillow beneath your knees can help maintain the natural curve in your lower back. If you prefer sleeping on your side, keep a pillow between your knees to reduce tension on your joints. Different types of back pain may respond to different therapies, so be sure to explore various home remedies. For any back pain that doesn’t fade after a few weeks, be sure to visit a healthcare professional. If you are experiencing chronic back pain, such as Degenerative Disc Disease or Spinal Stenosis, perhaps you may be a candidate for stem cell therapy to help with pain management and/or regeneration of damaged tissues. If you would like to learn more contact a care coordinator today!

Can You Live a Normal Life with Degenerative Disc Disease?

Can You Live a Normal Life with Degenerative Disc Disease?

Degenerative disc disease is an age-related condition that occurs when the discs of the vertebrae, located in the spine, deteriorate. Symptoms may include weakness, numbness, and radiating pain. The discs are responsible for absorbing shock, allowing the back to move freely. As they wear out, their ability to protect the vertebrae becomes limited. 

For people with the condition, symptoms like nerve and muscle pain, spinal instability, tingling and weakness in the muscles, and neurological symptoms may make it challenging to perform tasks. If your symptoms prevent you from being able to perform your work, having degenerative disc disease could qualify you for unemployment benefits. This is usually decided based on the degree of degeneration experienced.

While degenerative disc disease could require some modifications to your normal routine, however, it is possible to live a normal life with the condition. 

Ways to Lead a Normal Life with Degenerative Disc Disease

Finding a supportive team of healthcare professionals is one important pillar of maintaining your quality of life with degenerative disc disease. These experts may recommend the following tactics for controlling symptoms, or a combination thereof:

  • Optimizing your posture through physical therapy and ergonomic furniture to reduce pain
  • Using heat and cold therapies to control pain levels as needed
  • Seeking alternative treatments, such as regenerative medicine.
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen 
  • Staying physically active with low-impact exercise to maintain strength, stamina, and flexibility
  • Using physical therapy to maintain strength and range of motion in the back and neck

Thus, even if you have to be out of work for some time or indefinitely, there are many lifestyle tactics and therapies you can explore to feel your best while living with this disease. If you would like to learn more then contact us today and one of our care coordinators will be happy to help!

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