Stem Cell Therapy for Spine Surgery

Rick Perry Stem Cell Spine Surgery

Republican party candidate Rick Perry underwent experimental stem cell surgery for a herniated disc.

Stem Cell Therapy for Spine Surgery

Spinal surgery for spinal stenosis often involves fusion, using either an autograft, where bone is taken from the patient themselves, or an allograft, where donor-derived bone is used. A combination of the two is sometimes used, where the structural piece of bone used as the main graft material is packed with some of the patients’ own bone removed as part of the procedure itself. This is thought to give the graft a better success rate in terms of fusion, and represents a very basic form of stem cell therapy. Stem cell therapy has been used for many years in this kind of surgery, although it is rarely thought of in the context of cutting edge technology as it relies on the same principles as bone-marrow transplants which have become standard practice in some conditions.

In 2011 stem cell therapy with spine surgery hit the headlines as Republican nominee candidate Rick Perry underwent an experimental stem cell spine surgery procedure, purportedly out of the country due to regulations in the US preventing his treatment closer to home. Whether his stem cell back surgery affected his performances in candidate debates is still unknown. Whereas Rick Perry’s stem cell surgery involved injections of stem cells into his spine after back surgery, more routine stem cell spine surgery concentrates on the use of bone grafts. Continue reading “Stem Cell Therapy for Spine Surgery” »

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Low Level Laser Therapy for Back Pain

Laser Light Therapy

Laser Light Therapy For Back Pain

Low-Level Laser Therapy for Back Pain

Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) has been used for around thirty years to treat both acute and chronic pain. The mechanism behind the use of LLLT is assumed to be the transfer of energy from the near-infrared light wavelength to cells in the deep tissues of the body, such as spinal discs, and the musculoskeletal system. The strengths of the lasers used, and the duration of treatment vary between difference clinics, practitioners, manufacturers, and in research trials, making justification and assessment of the treatment inherently complex. Does Low Level Laser Therapy for spinal stenosis really help back pain? Read on to find out. Continue reading “Low Level Laser Therapy for Back Pain” »

Cymbalta for Back Pain

Cymbalta: Newly Approved Drug for Chronic Pain

Cymbalta Dangers

Is Cymbalta Dangerous?

Duloxetine Hydrochloride (Cymbalta) has been used since 2004 as a treatment for major depressive disorder and diabetic neuropathy.  In 2007 it also became available for treatment of general anxiety disorder, and then for fibromyalgia in 2008.  On the 4th November the FDA approved Cymbalta for use in chronic debilitating conditions such as musculoskeletal pain, including chronic back pain, and osteoarthritis.  Spinal stenosis sufferers in the US may now be prescribed Cymbalta, with the usual dose being set at one 60mg capsule a day.  The director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Janet Woodcock, MD, said that this provides “another treatment option… [as] Up to three-quarters of the population experience chronic pain at some time in their lives.”  But, should spinal stenosis sufferers be heralding this approval as the answer to all their pain problems, or are there more factors to consider before adding Cymbalta to your treatment plan?

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Diam Implant for Spinal Stenosis

Diam Implant Update

Diam Implant for Spinal Stenosis

Diam Implant for Spinal Stenosis

A fairly recent innovation in spinal surgery for degenerative disc diseases such as spinal stenosis is the use of the Device for Intervertebral Assisted Motion (DIAM™). This device, first introduced in Europe in 2003 by Medtronic Inc., is used in cases of disc herniation or spinal stenosis and is often implanted after a laminectomy, facetectomy, or discectomy. The DIAM is just one of a number of different interspinous spacers commonly used to treat lumbar spinal stenosis or facet joint arthritis. These devices aim to reduce the load on the facet joint, provide stability of the spine whilst maintaining motion, and to restore foraminal height that can be lost through degenerative disc disease, or spinal surgery. Other implants include Coflex, Wallis, and X-STOP. A study published earlier this month, by Sur, et al (2010), analyzed the long-term success rate when using the DIAM and reported some promising findings.

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