One of the greatest benefits of regenerative medicine — beyond alleviating your back pain — is it’s potential to help you avoid surgery. If you think that sounds too good to be true, you’re not alone. Many of our patients at Elevate Medical have the same question, so we’re using this blog post to do exactly what we’d do if you were sitting in our office: explain how regenerative medicine works.
What regenerative medicine is all about
Your body has the amazing ability to heal itself using a variety of special cells, including platelets and mesenchymal stem cells. Platelets are naturally found in your bloodstream, while mesenchymal stem cells thrive in different areas throughout your body, including bone marrow.
When you’re injured, both types of cells immediately migrate to the damaged tissues. Platelets release proteins called growth factors that trigger a healing cascade. Mesenchymal stem cells (and other types of adult stem cells in your body) regenerate new tissues.
Regenerative medicine uses your body’s natural healing cells. We extract platelets from your own blood and obtain mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from approved donors. Then we inject the cells directly into damaged tissues in your back, where they resume their normal jobs of healing and reducing pain.
How regenerative medicine alleviates back pain
There are several ways regenerative medicine can overcome your back problems and relieve pain without surgery. In many cases, PRP and MSC injections may help you avoid surgery altogether.
Damaged tissues are truly repaired
The best nonsurgical treatments currently available for back pain don’t cure the underlying problem. They may mask your pain or change the way your body perceives pain. But they often don’t relieve pain very well, and they sure don’t cure the underlying problem, so your pain goes on.
By comparison, MSCs regenerate new cells to repair and replace damaged tissues. Platelets in the form of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) boost the process by activating mesenchymal stem cells, regulating inflammation, and creating a matrix that supports new cell growth.
Regenerative medicine truly repairs the source of your back pain without the need for surgery.
Inflammation is regulated and reduced
When you have damaged tissues, you want inflammation for a short time. Inflammation is your body’s natural response as the immune system goes to work clearing away damaged tissues and delivering the platelets and mesenchymal stem cells the area needs in order to heal. As your body heals, inflammation normally goes down, taking pain away at the same time.
Ongoing back pain, however, is a sign that the inflammation has stayed too long. This chronic inflammation starts to harm the tissues and becomes a source of pain. MSCs and platelets help solve this problem by releasing biochemicals that regulate the inflammatory response, ensuring inflammation disappears when it should. In the process, they alleviate your back pain.
Healing occurs in slow-to-heal tissues
Platelets and MSCs must reach the injured tissues before they can help relieve your pain. They normally rely on your bloodstream for transportation, and that can be a problem when you have spine problems. When your spine is involved, limited blood flow can prevent healing.
Vertebral discs naturally have a very limited blood supply, which means they don’t heal well when they’re injured because they don’t get enough platelets, MSCs, oxygen, and other nutrients from your blood.
In some cases, a slipped or misaligned disc may press against blood vessels and block blood flow. Any tissues that don’t have a normal blood flow benefit from the healing boost of injected platelets and MSCs.
Studies show regenerative medicine helps your back
Studies show that MSC and PRP injections can help alleviate pain that originates in different spinal structures, including the discs, spinal nerve roots, and facet joints. Additional studies report that it’s safe and effective to inject regenerative medicine therapies into spinal discs, facet joints, and the epidural space along the spine, where MSCs and PRP can reach nerve roots.
If you suffer with chronic back pain and you want relief, or a health care provider has suggested surgery, come and talk with us about regenerative medicine options and how they can help.
To schedule an appointment, call our Elevate Medical office or use the convenient online booking feature today.