Thursday, October 26, 2017

Chronic Back Pain Stem Cell Treatment Could Cut Need for Opioids

There is an opioid epidemic killing the nation.  Back pain affects roughly twenty-eight million people in the United States.  The stem cell treatment discussed in this article could bring relief millions of people and the best part is that it would not require individuals to take opioids.  Unfortunately, opioid overdose has increased about four times since 1999; they account for 33,000 deaths in 2015 alone.  A leading cause to overdose is from getting a serious injury that requires the individual injured to rely on opioids.  Sometimes these individuals become addicted to the opioids.  However, stem cell treatment aims to stop this epidemic. 

In this stem cell treatment, stem cells are injected into the damaged discs between the vertebrae of the spine.  Each dose or stem cell contains about six million cells called mesenchymal precursor cells.  These cells decrease inflammation and secrete factors which help rebuild the damaged tissue in the spine.  The stem cells being used for these injections are being tested for treating degenerative disc diseases.  The discs between vertebrae act as cushions that absorb the shock from the normal wear and tear of every day life.  When these discs wear down and become thinner, they loose their ability to cushion the vertebrae.  This then leads individuals to seek relief from opioids.  Studies done with stem cell treatment show that one injection of stem cells helped individuals become mobile again and did not experience back pain for two years. 

Stem cell treatment is the new pain killer.  Using stem cell injections will lower the opioid epidemic across the nation.  I found this article informative and relatable.  Almost every individual experiences lower back pain at some point in their life, and those who have know it is an unbearable pain.  However, for those individuals who may be affected by addiction stem cell treatment is a perfect replacement for opioids.  Overall, I agree with the ideas presented in this article and I am excited to learn about future stem cell treatments.


3 comments:

  1. I have always been fascinated with the diversity and adaptability of stem cells. I think stem cell research can provide many informative answers to needs in the medical field, especially chronic back pain. The intervertebral discs go through a lot of use throughout life, and the injection of stem cells to this affected area can definitely rebuild lost tissue and in turn, help alleviate pain! Awesome job!

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  2. Courtney,
    The title of your submission caught my attention right away since I've been dealing with back pain for a while. I have read many articles on the subject, yet I never came across an article discussing how stem cell treatment can be used as a "pain killer" for back pain. What I found especially fascinating was how only one injection of stem cells can "do the trick" for two years in place of people having to become vulnerable to the horrible opioid epidemic we are currently facing.

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  3. As someone who works in the emergency room of a hospital, I see many patients that rely on opioids and seek it for pain. Some are addicts that maliciously try to get painkillers, while others are elderly affected by chronic pain and have difficulty managing it. Stem cell treatment is an innovative approach to combat the opioid epidemic and further alleviate the symptoms of chronic pain that people suffer daily.

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