Intervertebral disc degeneration is characterized by a gradual loss of cellular function and related breakdown of extracellular matrix. This process leads to a decrease in the mechanical stability of the spine and activation of molecules that trigger painful back and neck symptoms. Implantation of mesenchymal stem cells has been shown to counteract the degenerative process in animal models of disc degeneration and in some initial clinical studies. The regenerative activity of Mesenchymal Stem Cells when injected into the disc results in a reversal of that degenerative disc process. In addition, the injection of MSCs also releases trophic factors that may stimulate the metabolism of disc cells and suppress inflammatory reactions. However, in spite of these promising perspectives, clinical application of MSCs has certain limitations. Potential adverse events such as cell leaking and osteophyte (spur) formation are at present, the limiting factors. I am updating my Blog readers concerning what is on the horizon as every week I receive a question about the subject of the low back and stem cells. Low Back degenerative disease also is something I must consider in each and every patient for whom I perform a Cellular Orthopedic intervention in a hip or knee as there is no question about a Hip-Knee-Spine connection and I must understand its importance when I treat hip and knee pathology. These areas are closely related in function and symptom distribution
The limitation at present of Cellular Orthopedic intervention for intervertebral disc degeneration is the need to further identify potential side effects. While an attractive target for future regenerative strategies, Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate/Stem Cell intervention is not ready for prime time. The logical question then is how to cope with the limitations of spinal stenosis and Degenerative Disc and Joint disease of the low back until stem cell care is proven safe and effective? First and foremost comes weight reduction. Next in line is core strengthening in conjunction with stretching. This may be accomplished through Pilates, Tai Chi, Yoga and any other program that follows the principles of strengthening and stretching the core. Incidentally, running and jogging are not injurious to an arthritic spine; just the opposite, both help rehydrate the dried out disc.
To learn more about your personal kinematic Knee-Hip-Low Back continuum, you need an assessment. That’s the only way I can determine the key problem and if one or all need to be addressed.
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Tags: arthritis, athletes, Benefits and Risk, bone marrow, Bone Marrow Concentrate, Clinical Studies, Interventional Orthopedics, Mature Athlete, medicine, Regenerative, Regenexx, stem cells, treatment