Spine Pain

Spine Pain

What Causes Spine Pain?

Spine pain is often caused by pain from the intervertebral disc (IVD) and can lead to a significant decrease in quality of life and potentially disability.  These discs have poor healing ability due to limited vascular and nutrition supply. The IVD is often damaged by trauma or excessive overload which results in tearing or fissuring of the outer layer of the disc known as the annulus. If severe enough, this can result in the center of the disc (nucleus pulposus) herniating out and possibly causing nerve root irritation and radiculopathy (aka sciatica). Most cases resolve with time, but some cases become chronic or recur.

Standard Treatments

Standard of care for spine pain from a painful intervertebral disc is time, medication, physical therapy, and epidural injection of a corticosteroid. In the most severe cases, surgical fusion or disc replacement is available, however with significant risk and variable success rates.

Regenerative Medicine

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) has been studied for many conditions over the years, including damaged cartilage, ligaments, or tendons. PRP is believed to have its beneficial effect through the release of a variety of growth factors including transforming growth factor (TGF) B-1, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), and epidermal growth factor (EGF). Injections of PRP have been shown to augment the recovery process of the IVD. Studies have yielded positive results using PRP in animals and humans.

Key to successful treatment is accurate diagnosis. Often diagnostic testing such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and provocative discography are needed to establish the diagnosis.