If you have a bulging or herniated disc, you likely understand the kind of severe pain and functional limitations that these common problems can cause. In the past, the only treatments that patients had available to them for treating herniated or bulging discs were either undergoing steroid injections or major surgery. Fortunately, advances in regenerative medicine have led to new regenerative therapies that you can choose instead of surgery or steroid injections to treat your herniated or bulging disc.
What is regenerative medicine?
With a focus on helping your body’s own systems to regenerate tissues, regenerative medical techniques can be used to help restore your functional ability while also treating your pain. With regenerative therapies, healthy, undifferentiated cells or growth factors are delivered to the damaged areas so that your body can use its own power in order to regenerate tissues and restore full function. Examples of regenerative treatments that you might recognize include transplants of organs and bone marrow. Medical advances have allowed the development of stem cell therapies as regenerative therapies. Another type of regenerative therapy is platelet-rich plasma therapy, which has shown significant potential as a way to end the chronic back pain that people experience when they have a bulging disc or a herniated disc.
The science behind PRP
Your blood is made up of a combination of white and red blood cells, platelets and plasma. your platelets help your body to heal by aiding in clotting and attracting stem cell areas to them. They are rich in growth factors, which help to stimulate your body’s natural healing process. In PRP therapy, plasma that is rich in platelets is isolated and concentrated before your doctor delivers it to the damaged area. The plasma is taken out of your own blood, alleviating any concerns about potential allergic reactions.
Understanding the process involved
The process that is involved in PRP is simple. You first have your blood drawn by your doctor. The blood is then placed into a centrifuge machine, which cycles it very rapidly. This process causes the platelet-rich plasma to separate out from the red blood cells, and the red blood cells are then discarded. The plasma with its concentrated platelets is then injected by your doctor into the space that surrounds the damaged disc. You can expect the process to take about 30 minutes. You should experience little pain other than that which is involved with needle pricks from the blood draw and the injection. Your doctor will use specialized equipment to help guide the injection so that its placement is accurate.
Expected time before results will be noticed
The improvements happen gradually following a platelet injection. As the inflammation subsides because of the healing capabilities of the platelets, your pain will also subside. Most patients notice improvements within a couple of weeks after their injections. It is important for you to avoid overexertion so that you do not aggravate your injuries while you are healing, and you might also need to get physical therapy treatment if your injuries are very severe.
What are the benefits of PRP?
PRP has numerous benefits, including:
- Putting an end to chronic pain
- Accelerating natural healing that is sustained
- An alternative to surgery
- Much more affordable than surgery
- Very little scarring
- No side effects from steroid injections
- Improvements in your functional capacity
Stem cell therapies and PRP are being chosen by an increasing number of professional athletes instead of surgeries or steroid injections. A large number of these athletes have reported that regenerative medicine has likely helped them to continue competing professionally. You may likewise benefit from PRP as an alternative to surgery.
Are you suffering from a herniated or bulging disk? Find out how regenerative medicine can help reduce your chronic pain by visiting our website. Or, give us a call at (888) 712-0318. One of our friendly patient advocates will be happy to help you.