Back Pain: Turning Back the Clock with PRP

April 27 17:05 2017 Print This Article

Degenerative spinal disc disease is something we have accepted for decades as being part of the aging process. We simply accept the fact that older people are more susceptible to chronic back pain as a result of wear and tear on the spinal column. But what if we could turn back the clock? What if it were possible to undo some of the damage caused by time and age by helping the body regenerate lost and damaged tissue?

 

These questions, and more, were the subject of a double-blind study presented earlier this year at the annual conference of the Interventional Orthopedics Foundation. The study looked specifically at using platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections to treat lower back pain in patients demonstrating symptoms of early stage degenerative spinal disc disease.

 

According to media reports, 60% of the study participants reported improvements in both function and pain. It should be noted that all the participants had already undergone mainstream treatments without success. Most were considering spinal fusion surgery to achieve some measure of pain relief.

 

The Spinal Cord a Perfect Subject

 

Apex Biologix, a Utah company specializing in training doctors in PRP and stem cell procedures, explains that the main goal of PRP is to use concentrated platelets donated by the patient to promote natural healing. The spinal cord is the perfect subject for this kind of therapy given its make-up.

 

The spinal column consists of a series of discs, nerves, and other forms of tissue that create a tubular column extending from the waist to the brain stem. Over time, the discs wear out and break down as a result of age, poor posture, and various kinds of back injuries. By the time a person reaches middle age, the spinal column is already showing significant signs of wear and tear.

 

In cases of chronic pain related to spinal disc disease, back pain sufferers are typically dealing with small cracks and tears in the discs that lead to exposed and irritated nerve endings. Making matters worse is the fact that discs in the spinal column have only a limited blood supply. This limits the ability of the body to heal the damaged tissue. Enter PRP.

 

PRP injections for spinal disc disease essentially do what the body is not doing on its own. They introduce platelet-rich plasma and its many growth factors into an area of the body that would otherwise not get much help.

 

Helping the Body along

 

Proponents of PRP therapy for treating chronic pain are very encouraged by the results of this most recent study. Though the study was limited to just 49 patients, following them for two years and observing greater function and less pain in the process is a strong indication that regenerative medicine can help turn back the clock to some extent.

 

PRP, stem cell therapy, and other regenerative options could very well be the future of medicine in many areas dealing with lost or damaged tissue. Such therapies help the body along, by encouraging it to do what is designed to do naturally.

 

Similar studies will undoubtedly be conducted by other researchers in the future. They will refute or confirm what researchers observed in the study mentioned here. That is the way medical science works. But as more studies are being released, the evidence is mounting that PRP therapy and its stem cell counterpart might become that holy grail of medicine we have been so long searching for. It would appear as though regenerative medicine could hold a wealth of untapped potential far greater than anything we imagine.

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