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Stem Cell Transplant Study Promise For Degenerative Disc Disease Patients?

By Expert Author: Garima Anamdani

What is degenerative disc disease?
This term implies disc degeneration due to aging. Though, most people may exhibit some form of disc degeneration in spine, it needs to be diagnosed and treated medically only in severe cases, because it is part of normal aging process otherwise.

In this spinal ailment, patients experience chronic low back pain that could radiate through the hips and thighs. It can affect your quality of life significantly as you would experience pain while walking, sitting, bending, lifting, twisting, etc. The most common causes for this common ailment are loss of fluid in the discs and tears or cracks in the outer vertebrae bones.

Stem cell study:
Today, there are several options for treating this ailment effectively. However, stem cell transplant research seems more and more viable as a surgical option as this research is in the phase of clinical trials. The advantages of this stem cell therapy, according to Dr. Qu are:
Increase in disc height This advantage was available due to restoration in transplant group of nucleus pulposus structure i.e. soft jelly tissue in the disc.
Increase in disc water content- This is considered an important advantage of this therapy as its significant support to normal spinal movements.
Improvement in appropriate gene expression

Currently, this research has completed animal testing and will tentatively begin human testing soon as the results in animal testing are extremely promising. However, they are not available for common public as yet. Patients of degenerative disc disease might have to choose other treatments for immediate effect for now.

Current treatments available today:
There are two kinds of treatment available in the medical world today: surgical and non-surgical. The non surgical options for the treatment for degenerative disc disease are:

Physical therapy
Chiropractic manipulative therapy
Osteopathic manipulation
Anti-inflammatory drugs

There are quite a few surgical options in current medical scenario. The most common one are:
Disc replacement surgery: The main principle of this surgery is that it maintains most of normal functions of the spine, which are affected in other surgical option like spinal fusion. Thus, it improves the chance of gaining functional status without affecting the nearby vertebrae.
Spinal fusion: It fuses the two adjacent vertebrae together through a surgery. This surgery fuses the discs that re degenerating. Thus it stops the process for most patients. Yet, it limits the spine movement measurably for most patients. Yet, this surgery could include fusion of two or many vertebrae.

Dr Garima Anandani (P.T.), CMP, Dip. MDT
Head- Clinical Operations, Qi Spine Clinic
Dr Anandani is the first clinician from India to qualify for the prestigious Diploma in M.D.T. from The McKenzie Institute International and University of Otago. She has acquired specialized training in Spine rehabilitation from St David's Spine and Sports Therapy, Austin, Texas (USA) and from The Polyclinic, Seattle (USA). She is also one of the few Certified Mulligan Practitioners in India, with over 14 years of clinical experience in handling musculoskeletal disorders

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