Autologous Stem Cell Injections for Back Pain: Can They Help?

Autologous bone marrow stem cell therapy is a minimally invasive treatment option for a number of painful injuries and medical conditions.

At Precision Regenerative Medicine, Tammy Penhollow, DO specializes in using autologous stem cell therapy to address back pain caused by spinal stenosis, herniated discs, and arthritis. Autologous means from your own body.  Dr. Penhollow focuses on relieving your pain, increasing your mobility, and reducing your need for surgery by customizing a treatment plan with your own bone marrow.

We recommend scheduling a diagnostic evaluation for back pain with us BEFORE you can no longer manage your pain on your own. Dr. Penhollow uses advanced diagnostic tests to identify the cause of your persistent back pain, so she can determine if autologous cell therapy is right for you. A recent set of plain x-rays in multiple views and a recent advanced image (CT scan or MRI scan) will be used along with a history and physical examination to develop a treatment plan.

What to know about regenerative bone marrow cell therapy

Stem cells are cells found in your body that have the unique ability to regenerate into many types of cells, including nerve cells, soft tissue cells, and bone cells. The “mesenchymal” cells from the bone marrow are particularly adept at signaling changes in musculoskeletal tissues such as discs, joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles.

The cells Dr. Penhollow use in treatment comes directly from your own body, specifically from your bone marrow. She does nothing more than minimal manipulation of these cells before injecting them into areas of your spine at the site of the pain generators. The centrifugation of the bone marrow cells helps produce a high concentration of stem cells that are ready for injection.

Once injected, the stem cells get to work to focus on the damaged soft tissues, discs, and vertebrae in your spine in an effort to relieve your pain. New cells continue to regenerate over time, so your body can heal faster and more efficiently from the inside out.

In addition to treating painful spine conditions including Degenerative disc disease, Dr. Penhollow can also use autologous bone marrow stem cell injections to address:

You might also benefit from autologous cell therapy to heal muscle strains, sprains, and tears.

What to expect during autologous bone marrow cell therapy for back pain

In order to access the cells needed for your treatment, Dr. Penhollow performs an outpatient procedure. She uses fluoroscopy (a real-time x-ray technology), and a specialized needle to remove bone marrow from the back of your pelvic bone (iliac).

Immediately following this, Dr. Penhollow uses fluoroscopy to precisely deliver the bone marrow aspirate concentrate to the areas of injury and degeneration within your spine and its surrounding tissues. 

You need minimal downtime to heal from your regenerative bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC) injections. You may experience some discomfort at the injection site for a few days that goes away without additional medical treatment.

Maximizing the results of your treatment

The results of your autologous stem cell injections may not be noticeable right away. It takes time for new cells to regenerate and for the surrounding tissues to respond to the changes.

In the months after your treatment, as new cells grow, we encourage a return to activities as you experience a reduction in your back pain and an increase in your spine’s range of motion.  We focus on strengthening the core muscles to further stabilize the spine and provide protection.

Because these cells target the root cause of your back pain, our goal is a long-lasting result, especially if combined with maintaining a healthy weight and strong core.  

As with any injection therapy, no guarantees can be made regarding an outcome.  We recommend choosing a highly trained physician (DO or MD) with decades of experience, who undergoes subspecialization (residency and fellowship) in interventional spine care, one who uses image guided injections, and one who focuses on the science of the therapy to guide individualized treatment options for each patient.

Call Precision Regenerative Medicine to schedule a diagnostic evaluation for back pain or book a consultation online today.

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