Stem Cell Therapy
There has never been any treatment available to heal worn out joints and discs of the spine. Treatment has essentially been palliative and managed but not cured.
Palliative management has consisted of lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, activity restrictions, and others), physical therapy, injections and medication. When severe, surgery has been an option for both joint and spine degenerative disease. Joint replacement, disc replacement and fusion were available to those with severe limitations in function related to the degenerative process.
These surgeries hold both great promise and great risk. Surgery results in irreversible structural change. It is a “bridge burner” in the respect that surgery permanently changes the anatomy. In many cases surgical outcome is good and justifies this permanency. In some, however, the change results in permanent worsening of the original pain and overall worsening of function. Statistics show poorer outcomes with each successive surgery. Unfortunately, it is difficult, if not impossible to predict a successful surgical intervention in any individual patient.
Successful treatment is usually finite and measured over years since surgical joint prosthetics wear out and require revision and replacement. Spine fusion speeds the degenerative process at adjacent vertebral levels.
Stem cell therapy, available now, is a means to stimulate healing in patients suffering both joint and disc related pain. When patients are properly selected, outcomes are quite good. Best of all, stem cell treatment does not change anatomy and surgical options continue to be open and available if necessary.