Are Stem Cells a Viable Treatment for Lower Back Pain?

Lower back pain is a common problem for most Americans and almost every adult experiences it at one point or another in life. The intensity of back pain is what varies, some individuals experience chronic back pain, which can significantly lower the quality of life. Surgeries and conventional therapies may not be ideal for the treatment of lower back pain. Stem cell therapy is said to be the change that is transforming lower back pain treatment for patients today.

Multipotent mesenchymal stem cell treatment or MSC has gained a lot of clinical interest since it has a lot of potential to revolutionize the pain management and treatment process of disc-generated pain and degenerative disc disease. MSC offers the unique ability to provide sustained improvement and reduce discogenic pain.

Stem cells are potent healers that have the ability to stimulate naturally and grow into healthy and mature cells. Stem cells can also replace injured cells. Handling and injecting stem cells correctly can help create a healing environment and trigger the regenerative process to create healthy tissue. The process sees the differentiation, proliferation and maturity of the cells in the environment that they are placed. All stem cells have the ability to develop into different types of healthy cells depending on where they are placed such as bone cartilage, muscle, tendons or ligaments.

Stem cell therapy has been studied since the early 90s and recent technological advances have improved the safety of the therapy. Autologus stem cell treatment involves using stem cells from your own body to treat injuries. Autologus treatment has become quite popular as a simple outpatient procedure. Stem cells used for treatment can be harvested from adults and are mostly harvested from the bone marrow in the back of the hip. Cells are prepared for reinjection by isolating and concentrating the desired stem cells in a specialized centrifuge system. The fresh stem cells are injected into the injured area guided by ultrasound or fluoroscopy.

The stem cell treatment process is a great idea but there are still concerns about whether these techniques work without causing unexpected complications. Some of the questions that still linger that about stem cell treatment today include:

The optimal dose for the injection

The right indications for use

The modifications needed since the disc environment is low in oxygen and no blood supply.

The best stem cells for each application (adipose, placenta, mesenchymal)

The long risks associated with stem cell injections also still remain unknown. There is a lot of concern as to whether the stem cells can eventually cause harm to the body and lead to complication. So far, stem cell treatment has worked great but the science is still in the early stages and the risks associated with the treatment may not be known until a couple of years later. It is advisable to have a long discussion with your physician before deciding whether to try out stem cell therapy.