Regenerative Medicine for Spine Conditions
Statistics have it that more than half of the adult population in the United States is usually suffering from back pain at any time. The most interesting bit of information revolving around the statistics and facts on back pain is that they may not even shock you as much as they are supposed to. Thing is, most of us have probably had to struggle with back pain. Shifting the focus to the financial implications of back pain also reveals that they are not as insignificant as we try to make them seem. It has been established that back pain ranks very high on the list of the reasons why United States Citizens are disabled. Every year, an estimated $2 billion is lost in the management of back-pain related disability.
Most of us who have had to occasionally struggle with back pain at any given instance can attest to the fact that it more often than not simply vanishes on its own, and may not even require significant intervention.
The truth, however, is that there are some of us who are bound to experience chronic back pain resulting from underlying conditions that require us to be accurately diagnosed and effectively treated, in a bid to alleviate the pain, as well as other related symptoms.
In the present age and time, there are very many treatments that have been created to deal with back pain. For those who have actually had to battle disabling pain attributed to problems with the spinal discs, there is some great news that you can rejoice about.
Researchers have finally released the results from a study they were conducting on the likelihood of regenerating healthy spinal discs using the stem cells of the subject. As much as the subjects used in this study were goats, owing to the fact that their cervical spinal disc shape happens to be right about the same size as in human beings, there is reason to believe that the promise of regenerative medicine for people who have spinal conditions may actually hold.
When a person is experiencing severe back pain arising from disc degeneration, any of the two historically proven approaches to treatment can be relied on to fix it.
The first approach involves the removal of the damaged disc, after which the vertebrae above and below that disc are fused together, in an effort to limit the friction or movement that is causing the pain. Despite the fact that spinal fusion surgery can be quite effective in most cases, and that it can be done using an approach that is minimally invasive thus minimizing the occurrence of risks and complications, it may not be perfect for every patient involved.
The spine exists like a row of dominoes: the status of one part of it can therefore impact on the status of the other part.
This means that when one area of the same spine is changed, changes to the other parts may also be inevitable. This is more likely to be the case if the other parts of the spine are also starting to wear out. The patient may, due to this, end up experiencing more back pain as a result of increased damage, which is obviously not the solution we are after in this case.
The second approach used to treat damaged spinal discs which are causing the back pain involves replacement operations. In this case, the damaged discs are usually removed and replaced with “artificial ones”, which are made of metal or plastic, or even a combination of both.
Again, while this approach may be effective since it is minimally invasive and it works on most patients, it is also not perfect. It is well-known that implants are also not exempt from wearing out over time, a thing which translates to there being the need to replace them.
The National Institutes of Health have defined regenerative medicine as the process of creating other living and functional tissues in a bid to repair or replace the function of the tissues or organs lost due to a couple of factors such as age, various diseases, damage or even congenital defects.
In the context of spinal disc conditions, regenerative medicine seeks to target a number of the shortcomings that have been realized in the current and available treatment options.
Recent experiments done by researchers have singled out a perfect approach to extract stem cell material from goats, and to rely on it to grow new tissue. This tissue, the researchers have discovered, actually resembles and behaves like a real spinal disc.
Upon the completion of the engineering of this disc, they went ahead to implant it back into the spine of the goat. To their amazement, this tissue went ahead to become part of that goat’s anatomy.
Upon studying the goats that were used in the experiment after eight to twelve weeks post-procedure, they discovered that tissue implants had maintained their shape and function and had, in some instances, even become exceedingly better than what they had expected. Regardless of the fact that there is a need to rinse and repeat this study done on the goats, we can all agree that there is a lot of promise here, and human beings may eventually benefit.
One of the main things that scientists and experts in the field of medicine are trying to address is the manner in which the body degenerates, and how they can best get the body of the patient to the previous active living conditions in which they were free of pain – without creating more risks and complications, and without downtime. All said and done, however, with the promise borne by such studies it is safe to say that we are making very significant strides.
To your health,
The Healing Miracle Team
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