Could Stem Cells Help You Wave Goodbye to Back Pain?

When your wellness is affected by back pain, the underlying cause tends to be problems with your discs. These are the cushions between the bones of your spine, which work as shock absorbers. Unfortunately, there aren’t very many successful treatments, but in some cases there is one option; rejuvenating the disc with your own stem cells.

Dr. Andrew Cappucino has been helping develop a technique of removing your stem cells from the bone marrow and injecting them into damaged discs. In one treatment, he removes your bone marrow, separates the stem cells and then injects them into the discs. Although this isn’t the right course of treatment for everyone, it’s likely to become very popular if it produces the long-term results that Dr. Cappuccino expects.

One person who’s also hoping that Dr. Cappuccino’s expectations hold up is patient Johna Lindell. Even though Johna had disc problems for several years, her wellbeing was more severely affected after her daughter Abby was born. According to Johna, ‘That was very frustrating, because I wasn’t able to carry her. Even as an eight-pound infant, I wasn’t able to carry her for a long time in a carrier or anything like that.’ Luckily, Johna’s husband is Rian Lindell, a kicker for the Buffalo Bills, an American football team. Rian’s team mate, Kevin Everett, was treated for a spine injury by Dr. Cappuccino, and so Rian put his wife in touch with the doctor.

When your discs are normal, they look white on an MRO scan because they contain water. However, when Johna had just such a scan, Dr. Cappuccino noted a typical abnormality. He explained, ‘You can see that those three disks have turned black, dark. They’ve lost their water content, so they are losing their ability to be a shock absorber, and they’re beginning to bulge out into the spinal canal.’ After the procedure, ‘the needles were removed, band-aids were placed, she went to the recovery room, and an hour and 15 minutes later, she was on her way home,’ Dr. Cappuccino said.

Although it will take months for her to feel the full benefit, in the nine days since the treatment, Johna’s felt a daily improvement. She enthused, ‘I feel better every day when I get up out of bed and I notice that I’m happier, because I can get up and I can function and I can go in and get my daughter and I can get her ready and I’m not shuddering with pain.’ As Dr. Cappuccino said, ‘We see statistically significant decreases, almost back to the normal range, in patients that have had disabling pain for years,’ Johna added, ‘I’m happy to be part of something that I really think is going to be bigger in the future.’

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