Although stem cell therapy is mainly used for a bone marrow transplant, scientists are finding other applications for stem cell therapy. Among the popular applications for stem cell therapy after bone marrow is for back pain relief. There are ongoing research and clinical trials to bring stem therapy for back pain into a common medical procedure. However, there are mixed opinions of doctors and experts on this subject.⠀⠀
Backache or back pain is a painful or discomforting sensation in any part of the back. Back pain can occur below the back of the neck or shoulders, upper back, or in the lower back or hip region. Back pain can result from any injury, trauma, physical activity, or other medical conditions. It can occur in people of any age or gender for different reasons. Most people complain of back pain when they get older. Old age can cause conditions like the degenerative disc, muscular atrophy or sciatica.
Upper back pain can occur due to problems in the aorta, chest, chest tumors, and also inflammation in the spine. Lower back pain is the backache elderly people complain the most about. People experience lower back pain due to several problems. These problems are linked to discs between vertebrae, bony lumbar spinal cord, and nerves, abdominal or pelvic organs, or skin around the lumbar area.
Between 60-80% of the world population experiences back pain. The reason back pain is part of so many medical discussions is that it is complicated and is of several other types. Backache differs depending upon which area is in pain, like upper back or lower back pain. Back pain also has other types depending upon the severity, distribution, and the type of pain.
Axial pain or mechanical pain remains confined to one region or spot of the back. The patient may feel a sharp or dull sensation that can be either constant or throbbing. Muscle strain, annular tears in the disc, and facet joint are the common causes of axial pain.
Referred pain is a type of back pain that keeps on varying in terms of intensity. One of the most common examples is of lower pain due to degenerative disk.
It is the most intense back pain that gives a sharp and searing sensation. It can be due to inflammation or compression of both of the spinal nerve roots. The radicular pain of the lower back can also extend down to the leg. One example is sciatica, which is due to the compression of the sciatic nerve.
Stem cell therapy uses stem cells to treat or prevent a condition or disease. Stem cell therapy is commonly used for bone marrow transplants. The stem cells produce new healthy cells that help in the repair and recovery of bone marrow after the transplant. The healthy growing cells from stem cells can work to relieve from any disease or health condition.
When stem cells are injected into a spinal cord with a degenerated disc, the stem cells could turn into the cartilage cells and can regenerate the disc. By doing so, it alleviates the back pain which was caused by the degenerative disk.
As the surgical procedure of stem cell therapy is very advanced, the charges are not covered by any health insurance company. The patient has to pay for stem cell therapy from their own pocket. The cost of this back pain therapy is usually between $7000-$9000. When getting stem cell therapy, it is crucial to go to an expert and highly skilled surgeon. It is better to spend a higher amount of money than looking for a cheaper doctor and putting your spine at risk of getting damaged.
A study was conducted to determine the safety of using bone marrow concentrate on stem cell therapy for back pain. The bone marrow concentrate of the patient is used as a source of stem cells for back pain therapy. The intradiscal bone marrow concentrate is given to patients to relieve their back pain. This method for stem cell therapy was proven to be safe with reduced pain and no adverse effects.
As with all surgical procedures, stem cell therapy also comes with minor risks. There are little chances of bleeding, nerve damage, and infection. However, when there is the use of a patient’s own cells, there are insignificant chances of any allergic reactions.
While stem cell therapy is promising to relieve back pain problems, there is still a need for further research, and clinical trials before stem cell therapy can become a common treatment for back pain. There are few risks involved with the therapy and experts say that stem cell therapy for back pain might not be suitable for everyone.