The lower back provides a valuable foundation for the muscles, bones, and soft tissues which help us to stay upright. It helps to cushion the constant strain we put on our spines, shoulders, necks and all of their related muscle groups. Unfortunately, these cushioning tissues degrade as we age and this degradation often comes at a cost to our comfort. Pain, soreness, and discomfort often plague those who suffer from lower back issues. While in the past there was no chance of recuperating these tissues once they were lost, with current advancements in stem cell therapies we may finally get a sustainable answer to the problem of lower back pain.
In clinical terms the lower back is referred to as the “lumbar spine”. This lumbar region is composed of 5 vertebrae of the spine separated by soft-tissues known as discs and a grouping of large muscles which surround these vertebrae. Between each couplet of vertebrae are connective tissues known as facet joints. Each piece of this puzzle has a purpose – the facet joints enable the spine to extend and bend, the lower back muscles provide the power for each of the backs movements, the vertebrae of the spine provide a scaffolding for all of these groups to work harmoniously while the discs cushion the space between each vertebrae to allow for pain-free, fluid motion. When the harmony between these groups is disrupted, a person begins to experience lower back pain.
The source of these pains can be one, or several, of many things, but the underlying issue always points towards the same problem: soft tissue degradation. Soft tissue degradation is a natural part of aging which leads to pain in several areas of the body. In the lower back and spine, this manifests most prominently in the spinal discs and facet joints which help articulate every movement in the upper body.
As discs degenerate, they collapse and narrow the space between each vertebra. As this space narrows, the facet joints come under a heavier than usual strain which damages the articular cartilage which surrounds the it. This articular cartilage not only provides fluid movement to the spine but also restricts the contact between the bones therein. As the cartilage degrades, the bones in the lower back make contact with one another and bone spurs may begin to develop. As the bones make contact with one another, the nerves which surround them begin to emit pain which only gets worse as cartilage is lost and bone spurs develop.
Typical treatments for these soft-tissue related conditions vary from case to case. Doctors may recommend weight loss, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections or even more invasive treatments such as surgery. These last few treatment methodologies come with their own problematic side-effects. Medications can be costly and only treat the symptom, not the actual issue. Steroid injections have been known to cause a number of issues such as nerve damage, osteoporosis, steroid induced cataracts, sporadic inflammation and tendon ruptures. And surgery is not only costly and dangerous, it also involves extended down times, supplementary medication, and physical therapy. With advancements in the growing field of regenerative therapy, these treatments seem to be on the out.
Regenerative therapies have been around for roughly the past three decades. In sports medicine they’ve helped treat a number of famous athletes for several soft-tissue related pains. While in the past, these treatments were typically reserved for the wealthy, advancements in stem cell sciences have made these types of treatments relatively affordable for the common person. Current clinical trials suggest that stem cell therapies are a “safe and effective way to address the underlying cause of [soft tissue damage] that traditional conservative, interventional and surgical treatments fail to address.”
Stem cells are harvested directly from the patient and then reinjected into areas of pain, such as the lower back. Once injected, these cells quickly latch onto areas of degeneration and not only help to heal the damaged tissues, but actually help restore tissues which were lost. Patients typically report improvement in their pain for anywhere from six to eight months, with minimal downtimes and little to no supportive medication.
At CELLAXYS, our doctors have a combined experience of over two decades in applying these types of treatments for lower back problems. Our experienced staff is happy to provide a consultation for any such problem. If you are experiencing lower back pain which you believe may be caused by soft tissue degradation, contact our offices today.