Back Pain Cured with Stem Cell Treatment
Back pain is a natural, painful reality that millions of Americans live with every single year. It is estimated that close to 80 percent of Americans will experience an episode of lower back pain at some point in their lives, costing the medical industry more than $100 billion annually to support the problem. Not to mention, back pain contributes to decreased wages and productivity.
The good news is: stem cells can bring relief to the millions of people living with chronic lower back pain. The more stem cells are adopted in this role, the more likely our country can curb reliance on opioids, which kill thousands of people every single year. Overdoses from opioids have quadrupled since 1999, accounting for more than 33,000 deaths every single year. Most of these deaths occur after the patient has been prescribed the opioids for their back pain and develop an addiction. But, stem cells could change that.
What Are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells of multicellular organisms that are capable of giving rise to indefinitely more cells of the same type, from which certain other kinds of cell arise by differentiation. They provide a regeneration quality that makes them desirable for a variety of biological disorders in which parts and materials have totally withered.
Adult stem cells can be isolated from the body in different ways, depending the tissue. A blood stem cell, for example, can be taken from a donor’s bone marrow, from a person’s circulating blood, or from an umbilical cord when a baby is born. It’s not overly important how they are obtained, they just have to come from other living organisms.
Stem Cells for Back Pain
Stem cells are injected into damaged discs between the vertebrae of the spine, with each dose packing a punch of around 6 million cells. These specific cells, called mesenchymal precursor cells, are able to dampen inflammation and secret factors that help rebuild damaged tissue. In previous animal tests, these cells have completely rebuilt damaged vertebral discs.
Today stem cells are being tested specifically for treating degenerative disc disease, which counts for about 22 percent of all lower back pain diagnoses. Since the discs between our vertebrae act as shock absorbers for our bodies, they can dry out and wear and tear over time. Just this simple degradation is what causes excruciating pain when we lean over to do something as simple as bend down. From wearing out, these discs shrink, reducing their cushioning power and leading to trapped nerves. The disc damage can also trigger inflammation and further irritate the already painful problem.
Stem cells propose a uniquely organic way to help the body repair damage and missing tissues, ligaments, and tendons, relying on our own might to make it happen.