stem cell for back pain

Stem Cell for Back Pain: What Is It and How Exactly Does It Work?

Almost eighty percent of all adults in the US experience low back pain at some point.

Low back pain is the leading cause of disability of people under the age of forty-five.

For some, this pain takes the form of a dull, constant ache. For others, this condition causes sudden pain that can make it difficult to move.

Because low back pain is a daily challenge for so many people, there are all kinds of different treatments. Unfortunately, many forms of treatment are very invasive and may ultimately fail to provide any relief.

The need for better ways to treat back pain has inspired a lot of ongoing medical research. Stem cell for back pain is one of the most promising new treatments.

Before we look at how that treatment works and why it’s so promising, it’s helpful to understand exactly what’s at the root of most back pain.

What Causes Back Pain?

One of the reasons back pain is such a prevalent condition is there are many different causes. The first cause is intervertebral disc degeneration. This degeneration occurs as people get older.

Instead of discs remaining flexible, degeneration means they lose their ability to provide cushioning. Back pain can also stem from a ruptured or herniated disc. These conditions cause discs to compress and bulge.

Radiculopathy is another cause of back pain. This condition arises when the spinal nerve root gets inflamed or compressed. Sciatica is a similar cause and may also result in pain shooting down one leg.

Traumatic injuries, spinal stenosis, sprains, strains, and spondylosis are all other possible causes of back pain. With any of these causes, the resulting back pain can take a significant toll on your daily quality of life.

The Problem with Traditional Back Surgery

A common approach to back surgery is removing a degenerated disc and then fusing the spine. The fusing is done in an attempt to eliminate motion which can cause additional pain.

Although traditional back surgery works for some people, there are a number of problems and risks associated with this procedure. The first is that it’s very invasive.

The second issue is at least twenty percent of traditional back surgeries fail to provide any pain relief. Another potential complication is the need for a repeat surgery if a cage or graft subsides.

The invasive nature of this type of surgery can also cause nerve damage. That damage may create problems with leg strength or bowel control.

After learning about all of those risks, many individuals suffering from back pain pursue other forms of treatment. Those treatments can include massage therapy or chiropractic care.

While those treatments are less invasive, they often fail to provide any significant pain relief. Actually providing real relief in a minimally invasive way is what makes stem cell treatment so exciting for back pain sufferers.

Understanding How Stem Cell for Back Pain Works

The term stem cell refers to a cell that’s located within the body. What makes a stem cell different is it hasn’t yet transformed to perform a specific function.

When a stem cell is extracted from the body and then injected into a different area, it can transform based on the needs of that specific area.

In the case of stem cell for back pain, bone marrow is extracted from a patient’s hip bone. This marrow contains multiple stem cells. The cells are isolated by placing the marrow in a centrifuge.

Once the stem cells are isolated, a board-certified surgeon can use an x-ray to guide the cells’ injection back into the body. The x-ray provides the precision needed to target a specific disc in the spine.

After an injection is complete, the stem cell will start to promote healing of the degenerated disc. As injured disc tissue begins getting repaired through growth, the back pain a patient feels will start going away.

Although everyone heals differently, many patients who get this type of treatment experience major pain reductions in just a matter of months. The ongoing effects of stem cell for back pain can provide complete relief over the course of a year.

In some cases, the most effective approach to stem cell treatment may involve two or three injections. This is especially true for patients who are dealing with multiple disc problems along their spine.

A patient who has stem cell treatment in their back can support their recovery by doing therapy exercises. Simple exercises focused on posture and core-strengthening will work in conjunction with the stem cell towards a healthy spine.

The Benefits of Choosing Stem Cell for Back Pain

The first benefit of stem cell treatment is studies have confirmed its effectiveness. Out of one hundred back pain patients in a North Carolina study, sixty-nine of the patients experienced pain reduction.

Not only did the study note that the pain reduction was at least a fifty percent improvement for every patient, but it came after just one treatment session.

A shorter recovery time is the next benefit of stem cell for back pain. Traditional back surgery requires six to eight weeks to recover. It’s generally possible to resume light activity after a stem cell treatment within just a few days.

Using stem cell to address back pain is also far less invasive than traditional surgery. This procedure doesn’t involve any tissue removal, cutting or scars.

Instead, you’ll only experience temporary discomfort as bone marrow is extracted from your hip bone. The same is true when the stem cells are injected into one of your discs.

Is Stem Cell Treatment Right for You?

Stem cell for back pain can provide real relief from this challenging condition. It can also help a degenerated disc heal itself over the course of three to twelve months.

If you’re currently struggling with back pain, Executive Spine Surgery makes it easy to find out if you’re a candidate for stem cell treatment.

All you need to do is fill out our online consultation form and we’ll be in touch with soon about the next step towards stem cell for back pain.

How to Make it Through Your Cervical Kyphosis Treatment

Cervical kyphosis is a real pain in the neck. Literally.

And while the condition can cause pain in the neck, there can also be burning pain or tingling in the arms and hands.

On top of that, cervical kyphosis can also cause weakness in the arms and create difficulty with coordination, performing activities and holding in one position for too long.

But there is hope through cervical kyphosis treatment.

There are a variety of cervical kyphosis treatment options.

Treatment options fall into two categories – conservative or surgical – and the chosen treatment will depend on how severe the condition is and the conditions that caused it.

Surgery is not recommended if the curve in the neck is fixed, and there are no neurological problems due to pressure on the spinal cord. Since the curve is fixed – meaning that it’s not going to change – then that means it won’t get any worse.

In this case, conservative treatments are recommended. These include:

A Neck Collar or Brace 

A doctor may advise using some sort of neck support as a part of a cervical kyphosis treatment. Neck braces, cervical neck supports, and soft neck collars help to relieve strain on the neck muscles.

Plus, these supports can be helpful in speeding up the recovery time after an injury.

Physical Therapy 

Physical therapy helps with the correction of cervical posture through movement training and pacing of activities.

These exercises can also help to reduce pain, strengthen neck muscles and improve range of motion. Warm and cold compresses may be used to help manage pain.

Speaking of pain…

Medication

Medications for cervical kyphosis treatment are used to relieve pain, muscle spasms, and inflammation.

The two main over-the-counter medications are:

  • Acetaminophen – better known as Tylenol. Acetaminophen is an analgesic, which reduces pain by blocking the brain’s perception of pain. It is ideal for pain flare-ups.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – better known as Advil or Aleve. Over-the-counter NSAIDs lessen pain by reducing inflammation.

If over-the-counter medications aren’t cutting it, the doctor may prescribe something stronger.

Whatever the case, medication serves only to mask pain. So, it is recommended that exercises for cervical kyphosis be done during those times when pain is absent or lessened by the medication.

That way, the neck muscles get strengthened.

Excessive cervical kyphosis can be treated with surgery.

In severe cases where there is chronic and persistent pain, compression of the spinal cord, progression of the curve and/or a worsening of neurological problems, surgery is up for consideration.

Today, most surgery used in cervical kyphosis treatment involves putting in some type of metal plate or rod to hold the spine in place and straighten it.

With surgery, there may be an operation from the front to relieve the pressure on the spine, and then another operation from the back to put the metal in and prevent the kyphosis from returning.

In only the most extreme cases, the surgery may include an osteotomy, which involves cutting the vertebrae to allow the surgeon to straighten the spine. The spinal cord itself is not cut.

Whatever the reason for your cervical kyphosis, you’re sure to find a treatment option that’s right for you. And, if you have any other questions that weren’t addressed here, let us know.

What to Expect After Thoracic Spine Surgery

Knowledge is power, right? Well, having knowledge about what to expect after thoracic spine surgery is a powerful tool in recovery.

The decision to have thoracic spine surgery is not an easy one to make. It usually takes extensive consultation with your doctor, and often it’s after exhausting non-surgical treatment options.

Once you’ve made the decision to have thoracic spine surgery, here is a brief view of what to expect during the recovery process.

Hospital Stay After Thoracic Spine Surgery

Thoracic spine surgery patients usually remain in the hospital for 3 to 5 days. In order to be released from hospital care, patients need to:

  • administer oral pain medications, as needed,
  • get themselves up out of bed and walk around without assistance, and
  • use bathroom facilities, regularly, without assistance.

Physical therapists are usually available to help you learn how to perform these tasks while protecting your recovering body.

Recovery Time

Once home, thoracic spine surgery patients can expect a recovery time of 3 to 6 months.

After the rehabilitation period in the hospital, home care includes:

  • wound care,
  • starting to integrate basic movements into your day, and
  • working with a physical therapist (usually after 4 weeks).

Physical therapy usually lasts for 3 months and is conducted along with regular visits to your doctor.

Once you regain your normal strength and range of movement, you should be able to participate in activities that you enjoyed before going under the knife.

Activities

Of course, heavy lifting is discouraged for several weeks after thoracic spine surgery. This should be no surprise.

Specifically, you should avoid:

  • bending or twisting your back often,
  • lifting anything similar to the weight of a gallon of milk (5 lbs),
  • running, vacuuming, doing laundry, mowing the lawn, and
  • activities that make you feel back strain.

This means that planning ahead for how chores will be done is essential for a smooth recovery.

You will also not be able to drive for a few weeks. And even when you will be ready to hit the road, you will still need a neck brace, which may limit your range of vision. (delete these repeated words: For at least 2 months.) For at least 2 months, you will rely on a friend or relative for your transportation needs.

How Can I Help Myself Recover Faster?

  1. Move regularly. Ideally, you should take a light walk around your home every 1.5 – 2 hours you’re awake. This helps build muscle and prevents a build up of blood clots in your legs.
  2. Change positions. If you’re on the couch in the morning, try sitting at the table for lunch, and then outside on a patio in the afternoon.
  3. If you feel any pain, or pain increases, stop doing whatever you are doing.
  4. Ice can help your back if you experience pain. But remember to separate your skin and the ice pack with a towel. Do this for 30 minutes, 4 times a day.
  5. Wash your thoracic spine surgery wounds with soap and water daily. Do this in the shower, not in a bath.
  6. Keep the wound uncovered unless there is drainage.

What else?

With a decrease in physical activity, you’re likely to constipate. Make sure that your post-thoracic spine surgery diet consists of:

  • fruits,
  • bran cereal,
  • lots of fluids.

Don’t be afraid to invest in laxatives if the diet is not helping.

Also, keep educating yourself on thoracic spine surgeries. The more you learn how to care for yourself, the higher your chances of having a swift recovery.

Remember, recovery is a process. It can be shorter or longer, often depending on factors such as your age, health prior to surgery and, importantly, how well you can take care of yourself.

By knowing what to expect after a thoracic spine surgery, you will be in a better position to prepare yourself accordingly and handle post-surgery stress.

Are you struggling with upper back pain? Do you want to know if you need a surgery? Contact us today and talk to a certified neurosurgeon.

How to Tell if You Are Developing Spinal Cord Tumors

Spinal Cord Tumors

Spinal cord tumors can be a deadly diagnosis.

Along with brain tumors, they are the deadliest form of tumor. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 23,000 people will be diagnosed with a brain or spinal cord tumor in the U.S. in 2017.

Not all of these tumors are cancerous,but getting them checked is essential.

As with any type of cancer, early detection is the key to treatment, and ultimately, to survival.

Regular medical examinations are important. Knowing the symptoms and signs of a spinal cord tumor can also help with early detection.

What are the symptoms of spinal cord tumors?

One of the hardest parts about detecting these tumors is how varied the symptoms can be.

The symptoms that a patient will experience largely depend on where the tumor is located on the spine. How close the tumor is located to blood vessels and nerves, the size of the tumor, and how long it has been developing can affect symptoms as well.

Some of the earliest symptoms of spinal cord tumors are back pain and pain in the arms, legs, hips, and feet.

If the tumor is located on nerves, the patient may experience loss of sensation and decreased sensitivity.

Muscle weakness is also a common symptom, especially as the tumor grows. This can cause instability and trouble walking over time.

Other symptoms include loss of bowel function, spinal deformities, and paralysis.

How do you know when you should see a doctor?

Back pain can be the result of many problems. This can make it tough to figure out whether your back pain may be the result of a spinal cord tumor.

But abnormal back pain is always a cause for concern. If you notice that your back pain continues even after you’ve laid down in bed for the night, it could be the result of a tumor. Or, if your back pain doesn’t appear to be related to your activity levels, you should see a doctor right away.

If you experience persistent back pain, it’s always a good idea to see a doctor who can try to determine a cause.

If you notice any muscle weakness or changes in your bowel function, you should see a doctor immediately.

Patients who have a history of cancer should be especially alert to any possible symptoms.

Who is at risk of spinal cord tumors?

These tumors have many causes. Some people are more at risk than others for developing tumors.

For instance, those with a history of cancer or other hereditary conditions like Von Hippel-Lindau disease or Neurofibromatosis are more likely to develop tumors.

Anyone with a compromised immune system is also at an increased risk.

Exposure to chemicals from certain industries or from radiation treatments can also cause tumors.

If you have exhibited any of the above symptoms of spinal cord tumors, it may be time to see your doctor. The experts at Executive Spine Surgery can help.

Tumors can be serious. But with early detection and treatment, removal and recovery is always a possibility.

What You Need to Know about Revision Spine Surgery

revision spine surgeryIf you have ever suffered from back pain, you know it can be excruciating, and in the worst cases, debilitating.

It can affect your ability to walk, drive, work, play with your kids, or perform many other basic tasks.

For relief from their back pain, nearly half a million Americans undergo spinal surgery each year.

Unfortunately, however, many times the initial spinal surgery is unsuccessful. In these cases, patients may have to undergo revision spine surgery.

When surgeons perform revision spine surgery, they might simply repeat the original procedure because it failed to address the patient’s problem the first time around, or they may perform an entirely different procedure.

In the latter case, it could be that the wrong procedure was completed the first time, or it could be that a new condition has developed since the initial operation.

No matter the case, revision spine surgery comes with lots of questions.

Why do you need it?

What should you expect if you need it?

Are you going to be able to get back to all those activities you enjoy?

Keep reading for answers to your revision spine surgery questions.

Do You Need Revision Spine Surgery?

Your need for revision spine surgery will depend on your initial diagnosis and your symptoms following your initial surgery.

Here is a look at some of the most common conditions requiring surgery, and the symptoms  that might signal you need revision spine surgery:

  • Discectomy — This procedure involves removing pieces of disc material that have torn off or completely separated, from the main disc. As long as there is part of the original disc in place, it is possible to develop recurring disc herniations. You’ll know this may be happening to you if you have shooting pain down your arm.
  • Pseudoarthrosis — If a year has passed since your initial surgery and your bones still haven’t fused, you may be experiencing pseudoarthrosis. This occurs in about 68 percent of lumbar fusions, and about 36 percent of those cases require spine revision surgery. Pseudoarthrosis is more likely to occur in those who had spinal fusions without hardware.
  • Adjacent Segment Degeneration — Adjacent segment degeneration is a condition in which the joints right above or right below the site of the spinal surgery undergo anatomical changes. Usually, this takes about two years to develop. One of the most common symptoms associated with ASD is pain down the leg.
  • Total Disc Replacement — This is a relatively new procedure in the United States and one that very few patients actually need. When another surgery is needed, it is usually because of hardware failure.
  • Faulty Hardware — This one is straightforward enough. If you have had rods, screws or other equipment implanted during your initial surgery and that equipment fails, you will need to go back under the knife to fix the faulty parts.

Other factors that can contribute to failed procedures and the need for a second surgery include the development of scar tissue, surgical errors, and the patient’s overall health condition.

To determine whether you need another operation, your doctor will conduct a physical examination and order a variety of diagnostic scans, including CTs, MRIs, X-rays, EMGs and bone scans.

After carefully reviewing the results of these tests, your physician may conclude you do indeed need another procedure.

You won’t be alone, however.

For as much as 40 percent of back surgery patients, this is the case.

What to Expect

You’ve just had one spinal surgery when your doctor tells you that you need another. Such news can be devastating.

After all, you were envisioning yourself healed by this point, able to do all the things you enjoy in life without pain, or limited range of motion, or worry.

When your doctor tells you that you need a second surgery, a lot of thoughts may cross your mind:

Will I ever be free of my back pain?

What if this surgery goes wrong?

Will I be worse off than I was before?

These are all understandable worries, but there is plenty of reason to be optimistic.

Research conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine shows that patients who have revision spine surgery are just as likely to make a full recovery the second time around as those who have only had the initial surgery.

The key, researchers found, lies in making the correct diagnosis and performing the surgery correctly.

Complications can always arise, of course, but the takeaway is that revision spine surgery is no more likely to go wrong than initial spine surgeries.

That’s good news!

“In fact, the outcome for revision patients is a bit better in some of the study tools we use to assess their function. And the complication rate isn’t significantly higher,” researcher and orthopedic surgeon Khaled Kebaish told Johns Hopkins News in 2013.

If at first, your surgery wasn’t successful, try again — and in all likelihood, this time it will work, and you’ll be back to doing all the things you enjoy.

Also, you might take comfort in the fact that it may be possible to correct your spinal issue through a minimally invasive surgery.

In these cases, the incision is less than 1 inch in length, and the recovery time is much shorter than with traditional operations.

Your physician will have to determine the course of treatment your condition requires.

Whatever your condition and no matter if you are undergoing an initial spinal surgery or a revision spine surgery, your quickest path to recovery will be to strictly follow your physician’s post-op advice.

This will likely mean taking antibiotics, perhaps restricting your movements or completing a round of physical therapy.

Whatever he or she prescribes, it is in your best interest, and if you follow his or her directions closely, you will be much more likely to have a positive outcome.

Executive Spine Surgery offers a wide range of treatment options for back pain, including spinal injections, pain mapping, endoscopic, minimally invasive and complex spinal surgery, joint and lumbar fusion, and much more.

For an appointment or additional information, contact us today.