Our spine provides structural support to the body and enables us to maintain a balance in the upright position. The human spine is a remarkable structure that is made up of a chain of bones that allow flexible motion due to the presence of ligaments and spinal discs. Any injury or problem to the spine affects the nerve roots that are connected to the body’s internal organs. Spinal stenosis is one such problem that imparts pressure on the nerve roots that pass through the spine.
Stem cell therapy for spinal stenosis is an advanced non-surgical treatment option where a person can avoid elective surgery to treat the condition. Regenerative therapies treat a wide range of spine conditions without leaving a scar on the body. Stem cell therapy and super concentrated platelet (SCP) therapy are the advanced minimally-invasive therapies that heal the diseased or damaged tissue and regenerate healthy tissue.
The spine runs from the neck to the lower back and the bones of the spine form a spinal canal to protect the nerves that pass through the spine. Spinal stenosis occurs due to an underlying reason that narrows the spaces within the spine. Drying out of the soft tissues that act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae and crack in the discs can allow the disc material to press on the spinal nerves. Formation of the bony spurs that grow into the spinal canal can cause spinal stenosis.
Spinal cord injuries that occur due to accidents or trauma can cause dislocation of the vertebrae. This exerts pressure on the spinal cord and might damage the soft inner material of the spinal cord. Tumors or the abnormal growths that are developed inside the spinal canal can cover the spinal cord space, thereby narrowing the space.
Depending on the part of the occurrence of spinal stenosis, it is classified as:
Cervical stenosis: The narrowing of the spaces in the part of the spine in the neck is termed as cervical stenosis. The degenerative changes or trauma in the spinal canal of the neck leads to this condition.
Lumbar stenosis: It is the most common type of spinal stenosis that occurs due to the narrowing of the spaces in the part of the spine of the lower back.
The symptoms of spinal stenosis vary in individuals depending upon the location, extent and the nerves damaged. People with cervical spinal stenosis face problems with walking and balance along with weakness and numbness in the hand, arm, foot or leg. In severe cases of cervical spinal stenosis, individuals may experience urinary incontinence and bowel dysfunction.
Lumbar spinal stenosis causes weakness or numbness in the foot or leg. Also, one might experience pain in the legs on prolonged walking along with back pain. Since the degenerative changes begin to happen with the process of aging, spinal stenosis is mostly seen in the people above 50 years of age.
Treatment for spinal stenosis
Conservative treatment for stenosis includes pain medications that would temporarily ease the discomfort. Antidepressants and anti-seizure medicines would be prescribed to ease chronic pain and to reduce the pain resulting from the damaged nerves, respectively. Administration of steroid injections to the swollen or irritated nerve can reduce inflammation and relieve pain up to a specific period of time.
Surgical intervention for spinal stenosis involves removing the lamina of the affected vertebrae to release the pressure on the nerves. In some instances, a procedure known as laminotomy is performed to carve a big hole that allows releasing the pressure in the required area of the damage. Surgery for spinal stenosis treatment often involves a risk of developing specific complications, such as post-treatment infections.
Non-surgical alternatives to spinal stenosis surgery
Stem cerapy and platelet lyll thesate (PL) therapy are the most effective non-surgical practices to address spinal stenosis. Stem cells are being successfully used as the building blocks of the body’s regenerative system to repair and heal the damaged tissues in the body. Stem cells have an ability to transform themselves into various cell types in the body according to the part of the body tissue that needs to be repaired and regenerated.
Stem cell therapy for spinal stenosis uses customized stem cell concentrates for relieving the pressure in the spinal nerves and reducing the pain. After the stem cells are harvested from the bone marrow of the patient, they are processed to obtain a concentrate that enhances the body’s natural healing mechanism to repair the tissue damage in the spine.
Platelet lysate (PL) therapy for spinal stenosis heals the injured spine tissues with the patient’s own blood. The blood is drawn from the patient and processed to prepare PL injections. The concentrated platelets are infused at the site of the damage to initiate the repair of the damaged tissue. The use of high concentration platelets for the repair of the tissue is the proven method to relieve back pain associated with spine problems and heal the damaged tissue.
In some instances, additional PL injections are given after a stem cell therapy if the condition is severe or when the damage is extensive. The growth factors in the PL trigger the function of the stem cells, thereby enabling faster healing of the damaged tissue. Both stem cell therapy and PL therapy are done under image-guidance techniques, such as fluoroscopy and ultrasound.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Is stem cell treatment for spinal stenosis safe?
Stem cell treatment is considered as the novel and highly advanced non-surgical treatment option for spinal stenosis. The stem cells employed in the procedure are collected from the patient’s bone marrow. Since the stem cells used in the procedure are the patient’s own biological cells, the chances of rejection of the procedure is zero. The stem cell treatment is a highly safe procedure to repair the damaged tissue and regenerate a healthy one in case of spinal stenosis.
What care should be taken for stem cell treatment for back pain?
Stem cell treatment for back pain requires effective post-management care. It is mandatory to practice regular physiotherapy exercises to ease the blood flow to the treated area. Apart from simple leaning and bending, the patients who received treatment for back pain should not impose excessive stress on the treated area. Any stress on the treated area might reduce the effectiveness of the stem cells in healing the damaged tissue. Also, the patients who received stem cell injections for back pain should avoid doing strenuous activities for at least a few weeks after the procedure.
Are stem cells useful in treating spinal stenosis?
Stem cell therapy provides relief from the symptoms resulting from spinal stenosis. Apart from addressing the symptoms of spinal stenosis, stem cells are effective in halting the progression of the disease and protecting the surrounding tissue from damage. Stem cells trigger and enhance the body’s natural healing mechanism, thereby reducing the symptoms and healing the damaged tissue of the spine.