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new member seeks advice

Hello, I am in the United Kingdom and have had degenerative disc disease for about 15 years.y last MRI scan in 2006 stated I had DDD in the 3 lower lumbar vertebrae and one with a disc bulge and one with an annular tear. Over the years I had 4 steroid injections as a fast track to healing following herniations. I used to herniate quite frequently about 3 x a year. I was not a candidate for disc replacement as too many were affected. I declined a spinal fusion in 2010. I am now 50 but in daily trouble. I have had chronic low back pain...no nerve pain/sciatica since May 7th when I herniated last. I can't sit I can only stand or lie down. Codeine and NSAIDs only relieve 40% of the pain. I am a healthcare practitioner and continue to work full time but am scared the analgesics and or pain will effect my efficiency at work. I have read that I the USA there is now a stem cell/platelet treatment available that helps discs repair themselves. Does any forum member have any experience of this treatment? Also are there any UK/European members that know if this new treatment is available in Europe?

Thank you


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Plasma rich & stem cell therapy for discs is still considered experimental in the USA. I had a consultation with one of the specialists. It hasn't been performed on many patients & it involves many 'sessions' over months. I'm in a similar situation to you & my desperation made me interested. I did every form of research I could think of & couldn't find any positive results. This therapy has been successful on other parts of the body. When looking into it make sure they're talking about herniated disc results only.
    I was advised that since discs don't have a blood supply it's questionable if it could even work. I found personal experiences that ended in emergency surgery. That really scared me. My surgeon was very against the idea. He believed the extreme pain from the procedures & the possible damage to the discs was not worth the risks. He doesn't believe it could work. My pain management doctor is only slightly less negative. He thinks it could possibly slow the degeneration but not 'fix' the problem. His advise was 'If insurance covers it & you can handle the pain, I don't think it would be that damaging'! Not exactly a ringing endorsement!

    I decided against it. It was a lot of money & a lot of risk for something without any results to back it up. I'm sorry. I know what it's like to live with unrelenting pain. I so desperately wanted this to be an option. I do everything I can to manage my pain & it still gets the better of me on occasion. I've extensively researched everything I've ever heard of & honestly don't believe there's a 'magic bullet' out there on either side of the Atlantic. ;-(
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • Thanks for your feedback and story. Yes you're right there is no magic bullet. Although I declined surgery my surgeon told me tbat by the time im 60 my lumbar vertebrae will fuse naturally and then I'll be pain free!! So 9 more years then !!!
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