Pain Management Doctors Use Disc Injections To Treat Degenerative Disc Disease

29 Dec Pain Management Doctors Use Disc Injections To Treat Degenerative Disc Disease

Millions of Americans are affected by degenerative disc disease and compared to spinal arthritis the treatment options are minimal. Discs have a really slow metabolism and they have a minimal ability to heal themselves.

Normally the intervertebral disc works as a superior shock absorber throughout the spine. Normally it is made up of 80 percent water and the 20 percent proteins and collagen. When there is disc degeneration the water slowly seeps from the disc and this causes pain because of the outer disc tears. The inner area of the disc has no nerve endings and so it can’t feel pain.

There are numerous causes for degenerative disc disease that can lead to neck or back pain. Let us look at the main ones.

•    Herniated Disc – This causes an abnormal bulge to form in the spinal disc and in some cases, the bulge breaks open.

•    Osteoarthritis – This causes the breakdown of the cartilage the cushions and protects the joints.

•    Spinal Stenosis – The spinal canal narrows and the open space in the spine and then there is continuous pressure but on the spinal cord and the nerves, which can cause pain and even affect the nerve function.

Pain management doctors will often treat degenerative disc disease with steroid injections that go directly into the disc area. One study looked showed that these can provide very good pain relief for months. Steroid injections don’t heal and their use is focused on providing temporary relief from disc pain. They work well at doing this, but you need to remember this is a ‘band aid’ solution providing relief only short term.

Injections into the spinal disc have no healing properties and are only focused on providing pain relief.  There are studies occurring that are looking at two other injections in the regenerative medical arena, which could possibly repair the disc and regenerate the tissue.

Stem cell injections come from either your own body or from another outside source. Fat derived cells or bone marrow can be taken from your own body just like the stem cells are. The best location for these cells is in the amniotic membrane that’s derived from stem cell rich material.

The research continues regarding the use of stem cell injections into the spinal disc. There is an FDA clinical study in the works. This is also called PRP therapy where a blood draw is done on the patient and the blood is then spun down using a centrifuge to pull out the plasma, which is rich in platelets. It also attracts the stem cells in your body, which can potentially repair the disc.

Often, degenerative disc disease is treated with a mix of treatments that will provide the most pain relief. This can include physical therapy, chiropractic treatments, injections and medications. Since there currently is no cure for degenerative disc disease the focus of the pain management doctors is to provide the patient with relief.

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