Disc Tear Treatment with Stem Cells
CH is a 27 year old ex-military officer who inured his back while performing weight lifting dead lifts from the floor. When he was first evaluated in our clinic, his complaints and exam clearly showed two problems that I think fit well with the Orthopedics 2.0 series that I’ve been posting. The patient clearly had axial (in the middle) low back pain that he ascribed to his L4-L5 disc. His MRI did show a significant tear in the back of the disc as well as lost disc height and a dehydrated disc that wasn’t holding onto water (aka dark disc on MRI). He had tried and failed VAX-D spinal decompression treatments, chiropractic, and physical therapy. His initial evaluation also showed a right SI joint component. That’s where the ortho 2.0 approach comes in, as it would be easy to ascribe all of his pain to the impressive looking disc on MRI. However, a quick block of the SI joint ligaments in the office (injecting numbing medicine there to rule in or out this area as a pain generator) gave him good relief of the right sided low back pain, but his mid-line disc pain remained (from the L4-L5 disc). We were able to inject his own cultured stem cells into his disc, which over the first two months took away his axial low back pain, but his high right SI joint pain remained (an area we didn’t treat). Based on the diagnosis from his initial evaluation, I suggested he complete his treatment of the right SI joint in Florida and made some recommendations for treatment. His outcome, 100% symptom improvement at 3 months post procedure. This patient I think represents how complex musculoskeletal diagnosis can be, i.e. injecting stem cells blindly doesn’t get patients the relief they seek. In this case, there were two things causing his symptom complex and both of these needed to be identified and treated before he could completely respond. Please note CH is a unique patient and all low back patients aren’t expected to get these same results.
(Please note, this patient was treated with the Regenexx-C cultured stem cell procedure and not Regenexx-SD. While Regenexx-SD does rely on the same stem cell type that was used to treat these patients and other clinics have reported good results using similar procedures that don’t rely on stem cell culturing, Regenexx-SD clinical effectiveness has not yet been established.)