Degenerative Disc Disease
In each person’s spine there are discs between each bone of the spine (the vertebrae) that act as shock absorbers throughout every day activities such as sitting, standing, walking, running and playing sports. Through a normal process of aging, these rubbery discs begin to shrink, lose their integrity and break down over time.
Usually everyone develops some degree of degenerative disc disease as they age, however some patients will have chronic pain related to failure of these discs.
Common symptoms related to
degenerative disc disease include:
• Pain that is worse with sitting
• Pain that is worse with lifting, twisting or bending
• Increased pain with coughing and sneezing
• Pain that may radiate down the buttocks and thighs
• Numbness and tingling in the arms or legs
• Weakness in the arms or legs
Painful discs in the neck or low back are common causes of severe pain and disability. Unlike other tissues of the body, there is very little blood supply to the disc. As a result, once the disc is injured, it cannot repair itself and the discs can start to deteriorate. Conventional treatment has been focused on improving neck and back strength through physical activity, epidural injections, pain medications and nerve ablations. Until recently, therapies did not exist to regenerate the degenerative process in a vertebral disc, often leaving surgical intervention as the only option if other non-operative treatment options have failed.
In appropriate patients, early research has shown the bone marrow concentrate (stem cell) procedures have the potential to increase the volume of the discs after treatment as well as reduce pain related to the degenerated discs.
Regenerative therapy options hold significant healing potential and represent the future of spine treatments in orthopedics.
Call to schedule an appointment to discuss your treatment options with one of our physicians to determine if stem cell treatment is appropriate for you.