A study published last year (2015) in the scientific journal Stem Cells entitled “Percutaneous injection of autologous bone marrow concentrate significantly reduces lumbar discogenic pain through 12 months”, reported that patients suffering from chronic back pain due to degenerative disc disease who were treated by injecting their own bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC) into their lumbar discs experienced significant pain reduction 12 months after treatment.
Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a term used to describe normal changes in spinal discs as one ages. Spinal discs separate the spinal vertebrae and act as shock absorbers that allow the spine to twist, bend and flex. DDD usually affects the discs in the lower back (lumbar) or the neck (cervical).
DDD in lumbar discs can cause lower back pain, osteoarthritis, abnormal disc bulging (herniated disc) and spinal stenosis (narrowing of the tunnel-like space that holds the spinal cord), any of which can exert pressure on spinal nerves and the spinal cord causing pain and affecting nerve function.
BMAC contains mesenchymal stem cells and CD34+ stem cells. Mesenchymal stem cells have been shown to promote tissue growth including cartilage and CD34+ stem cells can promote tissue vascularization, thus increasing blood supply to new or damaged tissue.
The researchers studied 26 patients who were suffering from discogenic lower back pain. Patients were followed up at 3, 6, and 12 months.
After 12 months, 21 out of 26 patients experienced statistically significant improvements in pain scores and impairment. The most dramatic improvements were seen in patients with higher stem cell counts.
The original publication can be found here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/stem.1845/epdf
At Riordan-McKenna Institute, Dr. McKenna performs a procedure for degenerative disc disease that is similar to the one described in the Stem Cell Journal study.
However, Dr. McKenna augments the BMAC injections with *AlphaGEMS amniotic tissue product. AlphaGEMS is a pliable tissue allograft (transplant) derived from human placental amnion, which contains over 100 growth factors and functions as a biologic structural matrix to facilitate and enhance tissue healing and repair. The inclusion of AlphaGEMS adds a new dimension to the tissue repair process that was successfully tested in the cited study.
“Since we perform lumbar disc injections with BMAC and AphaGEMS at RMI, we are encouraged to see an independent study published that shows the effectiveness of a similar procedure for patients suffering from discogenic lumbar back pain,” states Riordan-McKenna Institute Medical Director, Wade McKenna, DO.
For more information about BMAC and AlphaGEMS treatment at RMI, please visit: http://www.rmiclinic.com/non-surgical-stem-cell-injections-joint-pain/stemnexa-protocol/
If you are suffering from degenerative disc disease and would like to be evaluated for treatment at RMI, the first step is to complete an online medical history. Once we receive it, our staff will contact you to answer general questions and to guide you through the rest of the evaluation process, which usually requires recent MRI images and an MRI report.
*AlphaGEMS tissue is procured from contracted hospitals after normal, healthy births