Stem Cell Therapy for a Herniated Disc - Stem Cell Therapy

Stem Cell Therapy for a Herniated Disc

Stem Cell Therapy for a Herniated Disc



Stem cell treatment for a herniated disc is a non-surgical procedure of injecting the stem-cells (usually collected from bone marrow) near the site where the disc has ruptured, which provides the stimulus to your body to repair the damage done, thus relieving the pain and other symptoms related to this disorder. This treatment has shown a lot of promise regarding relieving the symptoms and, as such, has drawn a lot of attention from people of all ages suffering from the disorder.

Stem cell treatments generally involve injecting stem cells into the patient’s body, which then communicate with the body’s own immune system to repair the damage that needs repairing. In the case of herniated disc treatments, they are working with the immune system to repair the damage done to the disc and help it get back in shape. It is a much more favorable treatment than fusion, since the body is naturally repairing itself instead of being a part of an invasive procedure which removes the damaged disc altogether.

Causes of Herniated Discs

It is very difficult to ever pin-point exactly what the direct cause of a herniated disk was. It is a wear-and-tear disorder which increases gradually, which is why its definitive causes can never be diagnosed. However, aging, lifting heavy things improperly (by using your back muscles instead of leg and thigh muscles) and, in rare cases, a traumatic event (a fall or a blow to the back) can also be the cause.

However, some people are more prone to this disorder than others, and it is influenced by following:

  • Weight – Overweight bodies put extra stress on their spines, and thus the disks in the lower spine. Reducing the weight helps with preventing spinal injuries such as this one.
  • Occupation – Some jobs require heavy lifting and are physically more demanding than others. Repetitive lifting, twisting and turning of the body while carrying heavy things, as well as pulling and pushing heavy objects, can all cause discomfort in the back and the more it happens the greater the risk of having a herniated disc.
  • Improper posture – People with improper spinal posture when standing or sitting are also at a higher risk of getting a herniated disk.
  • Genetics – Some people are just genetically more predisposed to having a herniated disc.

Symptoms of a Herniated Disc

Herniated discs usually occur in the lower back (lumbar spine), but it is possible that they can occur in the neck (cervical spine), as well. For most cases of herniated disc, the symptoms are as follows:

  • Leg or arm pain – Depending on where the herniated disc occurred, you can either feel pain in your thighs, calves and buttocks, or, if it’s the case of a neck herniated disc, in your arms and shoulders. The pain should be increased when moving the spine, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Numbness or a tingling sensation – Due to the nerves being choked by the disc in question, loss of feeling in the areas affected by those nerves can happen, or a tingling sensation. This usually involves the same body parts that are having pains.
  • Muscle weakness – The choking of the nerves can also affect the muscles and their strength. It might be hard for you to lift the things that you could before or you might stumble out of the blue.

It is also possible that a herniated disc will show no symptoms at all. Cases have been known where a herniated disc showed on the spinal images, but the patients had no problems or any kind of discomfort.


How is it treated?

The stem cell treatment for a herniated disc is composed of two parts: extracting your own stem cells from the bone marrow, and then re-injecting them into the part of the body where their help is needed, which is, in this case, your lower spine. Once the stem cells enter your body, they begin communicating with your immune system and repairing the damage, both by bringing more oxygen to the place (everything heals with oxygen).

The extraction of stem cells is done via bone marrow aspiration, which includes numbing your hip and inserting a small needle into the hip bone to take a small bone marrow sample. This procedure does not hurt at all, and was, in fact, described by patients as a comfortable process.

The next part of the protocol is a series of injections which then bring those stem cells back to the place where they are needed. This takes up to one week. Once this is finished, you will be sent home to recover. After the procedure, the patients may even worse pain for some time, but, usually, after three weeks, the pain is significantly relieved and it should continue to progressively be relieved even more for up to three months. Most patients report not having any pain for up to two years after the procedure.

The benefits of choosing this treatment

The main benefit of the stem cell therapy for a herniated disc is the fact that the body is using its own building materials to repair itself. It is a natural process of the body healing itself. The doctors only give it a little nudge so that it goes the right way and that the cells are assigned where they are needed.

Also, this procedure seems to be preferable to other invasive methods of dealing with herniated discs, especially the fusion surgery which is the final option in particularly bad cases of herniated discs. This is particularly important because stem cell treatment uses body’s own stem cells, while fusion surgery involves placing artificial devices into the spine. 

The cost of Stem Cell Treatments for a Herniated Disc

The average cost around the world for a stem cell treatment is around $10,000. The prices of these innovative treatments are yet to be standardized world-wide, so it is impossible to say with certainty how much the treatment will cost.

Some countries, such as Mexico, where the cost of living and medical expenses are much lower than in more developed countries, can have stem cell treatment programs which cost less than those in the developed world. 

Choosing the right clinic and treatment 

As with most other treatments, you have to inform yourself well about the clinic that you choose to do the treatment for you. Find the name of the doctor who performs the treatment and find out whether he/she has had any experience with stem cells before. Also, see whether he/she has already performed a stem cell treatment for a herniated disc before. You will want to choose someone who already has experience with this kind of treatment, as it will show that it’s not just another experimental program which might lead to no results. Also, read up on the reviews of former patients. All of these will help you get a clearer image about who is going to do the procedure on your and whether you should trust that doctor.

If you are already suffering from a herniated disc and want to learn more about how stem cell therapy can work for you then use the button below:

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