At our New Jersey spine specialty practice, many of our patients come in seeking help for profound neck pain. The cervical spine is one of the marvels of nature, but it is also vulnerable to injury and degenerative processes. It consists of the seven vertebrae that are located between the base of your skull and the middle of your back, or the thoracic spine. When injuries occur in this region and it becomes inflamed, it can impact your ability to move easily, to pursue everyday activities, and your overall quality of life. It is for this reason that attending to neck pain that persists for more than a week is so important.
Unfortunately, many patients avoid coming in for help because they fear what they may be told. People are naturally afraid of surgery, and assume that our physicians will quickly point them in that direction. The truth is that we rarely turn to surgery first, preferring to take a conservative approach whenever possible. The therapies that we apply will differ for each patient, with some being prescribed over-the-counter medications and exercise, some being offered physical therapy or massage. For some patients we find that minimally invasive stem cell therapy is most appropriate.
What is Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem cell therapy is one of the most exciting developments in treating chronic neck and back pain. It is a non-surgical approach that falls into the category of Regenerative Medicine. It represents the discovery that stem cells, Platelet-Rich Plasma, bone marrow and similar biologicals have tremendous healing powers while having the distinct advantage of being minimally invasive, quick, and effective. Though it is not appropriate for every situation, those patients for whom it is recommended generally experience significant relief and few complications.
If our New Jersey spine surgery physicians identify you a good candidate for stem cell therapy or platelet-rich plasma for the relief of neck or back pain, the procedure generally involves extracting cells directly from you, though in some cases they can come from umbilical cord or some other separate donor. The procedure for this extraction will depend upon what type of cells are most appropriate. Once removed and processed, the cells are then injected directly into the discs and/or facet joints that have been identified as being the source of your pain.
Once they have been injected, the exosomes within the stem cells or marrow begin to send messages to the site
In this instance, the stem cells begin to secrete anti-inflammatory proteins. Not only do these proteins decrease inflammation and pain, they also spur tissue regeneration at a microscopic level and create a process known as “immunomodulation.” What this means is that the area of the body that has been injected will be protected against an immune response.
The use of stem cells and other biological therapies is relatively new, but many patients report experiencing significant relief. If you would like to discuss whether stem cell therapy might be an appropriate remedy for your neck or back pain, contact our New Jersey spine surgery practice today to set up a time for a consultation.