Allowing this reporter some editorial license because I’ve been suffering from back pain (probably degenerative disc) for the last month, a couple of stories caught my attention this week.
A Los Angeles neurosurgeon has defended the use of stem cells for back pain relief. Dr. Todd Gravori is director of ProMedSpine in Beverly Hills who says he’s experienced success in using stem cells to stop the progression of degenerative disc disease.
Gravori also pointed out that stem cells can not only restore discs, they can also be used for improving the effects of spinal fusion surgery (which I’ve never had thankfully). Dr. Gravori says the cells help grow the new bone without bone grafts or donors.
He also pointed out that stem cells can reduce infection following surgeries, limit scarring and could make certain back surgeries even more effective with the regenerative capabilities.
“The future of spinal surgery and back treatments lies with stem cells,” said Dr. Gravori. “As technology becomes more sophisticated and doctors learn more about what these cells are capable of, treatment for spinal conditions will be revolutionized.”
We’ll contact Dr. Gravori for a deeper story in the future. His comments published here were found in Becker’s Orthopedic.
While my own back pain is recurring, I haven’t seen a spine doctor yet (going this Friday). I’ve been trying to rehab this through exercise, anti-inflammatories and even tried some chiropractic treatment for the first time. My condition has improved about 80%, but still have trouble rotating which is tough on a guy who likes to golf.
That’s why this story from Ireland caught my attention.
Internationally-renowned sports injury specialist Gerard Hartmann says in the Irish Examiner just 40 minutes of brisk walking, five days a week, is all it takes to beat the debilitating condition that affects tens of million world wide.
Back pain and other musculo-skeletal disorders are the cause of 50% of sick days take annually in Ireland.
Sufferers spend fortunes seeking a cure when, in many cases, a weekly walking programme will do the trick, says Hartmann, a Limerick-based physical therapist who heals the world’s elite athletes. Hartmann — whose clients include runners Sonia O’Sullivan and Cathy Freeman — says: “When we feel pain, the instinct is to rest, but with back pain, it’s movement that works.
Good, brisk walking, performed well and often, with good posture and suitable footwear, is very effective in healing back pain and its causes. Even three or four times a week of walking for a half an hour up to an hour will reduce back pain up by 50%.”
It reduces pain through “the gate control theory”, which says the brain cannot take pain messages from smaller muscles while busy with bigger muscles.
However, there are contra-indications: If people have shooting pains down their leg or numbness, or cannot physically walk with the pain, then they need to see their doctor before attempting any activity. It could be a ruptured disc putting pressure on a nerve, or something more serious.
If you have back pain issues, let us know what works for you. (if anything!)
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