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Regenexx® Alternatives to Back & Neck Surgery

the Broadest Array of Non-Surgical Procedures for Spine and Cervical Conditions.

Am I a Candidate?

If you’re looking for an alternative to back surgery, what you really need is a Regenexx procedure. Regenexx has a range of procedures developed to help patients avoid spine surgery and the side effects of epidural steroid injections. These procedures utilize the patient’s own natural growth factors or bone marrow concentrate containing stem cells to treat bulging or herniated discs, degenerative conditions in the spine, and other back and neck conditions that cause pain.

The origin of spine pain is often misidentified. Our decade of experience in regenerative treatments for spine pain allows us to address as many factors as possible to gain insight into the true cause of the problem. We identify the most probable sources of pain and select the most appropriate treatment options available. Only then can the natural healing process be initiated using the safest, least invasive procedure possible.

Commonly Treated Spine & Cervical Conditions

This is not a complete list, so please contact us or complete the Regenexx Candidate Form if you have questions about whether you or your condition can be treated with these non-surgical procedures.

Annular Tear

To understand annular tears, let us first review the anatomy of the spine.  The lumbar spine is comprised of 5 boney building blocks called vertebral bodies. Sandwiched between the vertebral bodies are the lumbar discs.  Each disc is comprised of an outer fibrous ring, the annulus fibrosis that surrounds the inner gelatinous center, which is called the nucleus. The disc absorbs the forces of daily living. The annulus has multiple layers of collagen that provide important support.  The annulus is similar to the sidewall of a tire which provides important stability for the tire. Through trauma or degeneration, the outer annular fibers can become injured and or weakened. 

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Atlantoaxial Instability (AAI)

Instability simply means that bones move around too much, usually due to damaged ligaments. In the spine, this can cause nerves to get banged into and joints to get damaged. In the craniocervical junction, instability can cause the upper cervical spinal nerves to get irritated, leading to headaches. In addition, the C0-C1 and C1-C2 facet joints can also get damaged. In addition, there are other nerves that exit the skull here that can get irritated, like the vagus nerve, which can cause rapid heart rate. What’s the Difference Between CCI and AAI? CCI refers to instability in any part of the craniocervical junction…

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Cervical Medullary Syndrome

Cervical Medullary Syndrome is a clinical condition that occurs as a result of inflammation, deformity, or compression of the lower part of the brain. Symptoms can be extensive with fluctuating severity based upon the extent of the underlying injury. For example, mild irritation of the brainstem may cause only mild, intermittent symptoms. The upper cervical spine and brain are complex with multiple structures.  These structures reside within the skull and protective confines of the cervical spine.  Neither expands to accommodate inflammation, injury, and disease.  Rather the delicate tissues of the brain and spinal cord are irritated or compressed.   The 4 major conditions that cause cervical medullary syndrome are… 

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Chiari Malformation

Chiari Malformation Is a medical condition where a part of the brain at the back of the skull abnormally descends through an opening in the skull. It is named after Dr. Hans Chiari who was an Austrian pathologist who in the late 1880’s studied deformities of the brain.The brain is a large structure divided into different parts that reside within the skull. Important parts of the brain called the Cerebellum and Brainstem sit at the base of the skull. The Foramen Magnum is a large hole at the base of the skull that allows the brain to join the spinal canal. The Cerebellum…

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Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS)

Disorders that affect and weaken the connective tissues such as tendons and ligaments. It is a hereditary disorder which means you are born with it.  EDS has many different signs and symptoms which can vary significantly depending upon the type of EDS and its severity.   It most commonly affects the skin, joints, and blood vessels.  Joints are typically hypermobile with excessive joint range of motion because of a defect in collagen formation. In most cases Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is inherited. That is to say that you are born with it. The two main ways EDS is inherited are: autosomal dominant inheritance and autosomal recessive inheritance…

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Facet Joint Syndrome

Injury or inflammation of the cervical facet can led to neck, shoulder and headache pain – called “cervical facet syndrome.” Cervical facet syndrome largely involves a joint in the posterior aspect of the cervical spine. It functions to provide stability and guide motion. cervical facet joint injection for cervical facet syndrome Cervical facet pain is common in patients who have sustained a whiplash injury, trauma to the neck or undergone cervical fusion. Physical examination is typically significant for restriction in range of motion along with pain. Each joint has a distinct referral pattern illustrated below. The Centeno-Schultz Clinic are experts at diagnosing and treating cervical facet dysfunction. Injury to the joint is not commonly detected by conventional radiographic studies.

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Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome also called failed back is a clinical condition in which patients who have undergone low back surgery continue to have pain and dysfunction.  Said another way the surgery that was intended to reduce pain and increase function FAILED. That is right, the surgery failed. You had the surgery, struggled with the pain postoperatively, diligently participated in physical therapy and yet the pain and limitation are still there.  Unfortunately, this occurs frequently.   Estimates range from 20-40% of patients who undergo low back surgery will develop Failed Back Surgery Syndrome. Pain is the most common symptom of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome…

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Herniated Thoracic Disc

A herniated thoracic disc is especially difficult because there aren’t as many treatments available as there are for disc herniations in other areas of the spine. To understand Thoracic Disc Herniations, though,  we first need to cover thoracic spine anatomy and function. With disc herniation, the annulus fibrosus get small tears throughout the annulus. An annulus is a bunch of concentric fibers, so, as the fibers get damaged and cut, the pressure that is built up within the nucleus pushes the now weakened annulus outward, creating a bulge or herniation. The disc begins to weaken via mild degeneration/tearing of the annular fibers…

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Loss of Cervical Lordosis

Normal neck curve? All of us, at one time or another, have probably been told to stand or sit up straight. The primary structure that allows us to follow that wise advice and demonstrate good posture is our spine. Likewise, when our posture is poor, this puts strain and pressure on the spine and supporting structures and can create problems down the road. This emphasis on a straight posture may, understandably, make you envision your spine, which stretches from the base of your skull all the way down to your pelvis, as straight. However, if you could stand sideways in front of a mirror and see all the way through to the spine, a normal spine would have three gentle counterbalancing curves. If there is too much curve at any point or not enough, this can be a problem.

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Pinched Nerves in the Back

We talk a lot about leg pain stemming from a pinched or irritated nerve in the lower back. And, indeed, that’s what our physicians are traditionally taught in medical school—a pinched nerve in the lumbar spine typically presents as a symptom in the leg. However, what if you have some butt pain but no pain or other symptoms in the leg? Does this mean it couldn’t be a pinched nerve? Not so fast. Turns out a pinched low back nerve doesn’t always have to be accompanied by leg symptoms. Let’s start by taking a look at how the back is structured.

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Sciatica

Disc herniation, disc protrusion, overgrowth of the facet joint, and thickening of the ligaments can result in nerve root compression or irritation, causing symptoms of sciatic compression. Some causes of sciatic compression can be interrelated with the following conditions: Degenerative disc disease, Spinal stenosis, damage or injuries to the discs, spondylolisthesis, piriformis syndrome, osteoarthritis. The symptoms of sciatica include pain in the lower back, buttock, and down your leg, numbness and weakness in low back, buttock, leg, and/or feet, pain increase with movement, “Pins and needles” feeling in your legs, toes, or feet., loss of bowel control, and incontinence. Sciatica can be treated…

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SI Joint Syndrome

The sacroiliac joints reside between the sacrum (the tailbone segment of the spinal column) and the prominent wing-like iliac bones that form the pelvic girdle. There are two SI joints, one on the left and one on the right (highlighted in red in the image above), and along with the symphysis pubis joint at the front of the structure, they are critical for transferring forces and energy back and forth between the spine and the lower limbs. There are a number of reasons that an SI joint can become painful and inflamed, leading to SI joint syndrome. Trauma, such as a fall injury to the tail bone or a forced injury from a car accident for example, obviously can create problems in the SI joint…

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Slipping Rib Syndrome

Slipping Rib Syndrome can be incredibly painful and is often misdiagnosed. It is also known as rib dislocation, rib subluxation, Tietze syndrome, Davies–Colley’s syndrome, rib-tip syndrome, painful rib syndrome, costochondral separation, and clicking or moving rib syndrome. It is very common for athletes involved in contact sports to get a slipped rib. Trauma causes stretching and sometimes tearing of the ligament attachments of the rib, creating instability. We also see this in many of our motor vehicle accident patients, caused by the seat belt and/or airbag. Once damaged, it can take several weeks to resolve (4-12 weeks). After 3 months, if the rib continues to…

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Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the central spinal canal and is a cause of significant pain and disability.  Common causes of spinal stenosis include disc protrusion, facet overgrowth and ligamentum flavum thickening.  Surgery is often chosen when conservative therapies fail despite the lack of convincing evidence that it is a superior treatment option.  Are there alternatives to back surgery for spinal stenosis?  Yes. Regenexx DDD utilizes precise platelet injections into the facets, muscles, and ligaments to treat the lumbar stenosis, treating all of the components of the issue, which is crucial. Spinal stenosis is often an age-related condition attributed…

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Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis means that one vertebra is slipping forward or backwards on another. This causes the hole where the nerve exits (foramen) to get smaller (also called foraminal stenosis). It also causes more wear and tear on the facet joint which can lead to arthritis or what’s called “facet hypertrophy”. spondylolisthesis recovery The amount of slippage is graded 1-4, with grade 1 meaning that the one vertebra has slipped up to 25% on the other vertebra. Grade 2 means that one bone has slipped from 25-50% with higher grades indicating more slippage. The vast majority of patients are grade 1 to 2.

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Torn Discs

The spinal discs are shock absorbers that live at each level between the vertebral bones (1). They have a tough outer annulus part and a soft inner gel part (nucleus pulposis). The outer covering can get damaged which can sometimes be seen on MRI and other times requires additional testing to identify. These tears are called: a torn disc, a disc tear, an annular tear, and when seen on MRI a “High-Intensity Zone” or HIZ. They can cause pain, mostly through ingrown nerves. There are torn disc findings that can be seen on MRI (HIZ) and these can be either asymptomatic (i.e. not painful) or…

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Show More
  • Annular Tear
  • Arthritis of the Spine
  • Back Pain
  • Bone Spurs
  • Bulging Disc
  • Canal Stenosis
  • Collapsed Disc
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Degenerative Spine
  • Disc Extrusion / Protrusion
  • Facet Joint Syndrome
  • Failed Back Surgery Syndrome
  • Foraminal Stenosis
  • Herniated Disc
  • Herniated Nucleus Pulposus (HNP)
  • Neck Pain
  • Nerve Pain
  • Pinched Nerves
  • Radiculitis
  • Radiating Nerve Pain
  • Ruptured Disc
  • Sciatica
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Slipped Disc
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Spondylosis
  • Torn Disc
  • Radiculopathy

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Are You a Candidate?

IN-PERSON AND TELEMEDICINE EVALUATIONS AVAILABLE

Regenexx Alternatives to Back Surgery

Platelet Treatments for Pain from Bulging or Herniated Discs

bulging and herniated discs - alternatives to back surgery

Bulging & Herniated Discs Explained

A bulging disc is also called a disc protrusion or bulge. This means that the outer covering of the disc (annulus) is partially torn or damaged and the inner gel is causing the area to bulge. This can put pressure on a spinal nerve and cause numbness and tingling (sciatica).

A herniated disc is also called a disc extrusion, slipped disc, sequestration, or “HNP” (Herniated Nucleus Pulposis). This means that the outer covering of the disc (annulus) is completely torn or damaged and the inner gel squirts out. This can put pressure on a spinal nerve or cause severe swelling and lead to numbness and tingling (sciatica).

Regenexx Alternatives for Back Surgery Offers the Most Effective and Least Invasive Option for You

Treating Bulging and Herniated Discs

Regenexx Platelet Lysate can offer relief from lower back or neck pain, buttock and leg pain, or numbness and tingling in the arms, hands, legs, or feet. It’s a safe, non-surgical treatment alternative for patients suffering from bulging discs and herniated cervical, thoracic, or lumbar disc-related problems.

Most patients with bulging or herniated discs respond well to a platelet lysate injection into the space surrounding the inflamed spinal nerves. Other clinics resort to an injection of bone marrow concentrate directly into a patient’s disc. While this can sometimes ultimately be necessary, our platelet lysate procedure is less invasive and lower risk. Nobody other than Regenexx offers this type of procedure, which utilizes natural growth factors produced from the patient’s own blood platelets. Regenexx is the only provider with experience in both bone marrow aspirate and platelet lysate so we are uniquely able to determine the best treatment options to address your source of pain.

Better than Steroid Epidurals

A steroid epidural is an injection that places steroid medication around irritated or inflamed nerves in the spine. While they do help patients avoid surgery, epidurals use very high-dose steroids which can reduce the body’s ability to heal and can lead to severe side effects.

Regenexx Platelet Lysate is a minimally invasive alternative to a steroid epidural injection that offers a very limited recovery period. It uses natural growth factors from the patient’s own body, derived from blood platelets, helping patients avoid surgery and the negative side effects of steroids.

Regenexx Alternatives to Back Surgery

Non-Surgical Treatment for Torn & Painful Discs 

Torn and Painful Discs Explained

Disc tears are also called annular tears or HIZs (High-Intensity Zones) on MRI images. A patient with a painful and torn disc has “disogenic pain.” The outer covering of the disc can be torn due to injury and painful nerves can grow into the area, leading to low back pain, usually with sitting or activity. In addition, the tear in the disc may lead to noxious chemicals escaping and irritating the spinal nerve, which can lead to sciatica.

Patients with this type of disc damage and pain generally have the best response from a Regenexx procedure.

This non-surgical procedure uses cells isolated from the patient’s own bone marrow. The marrow is collected using a special needle during a simple office procedure. The harvesting procedure is well tolerated by patients and many patients report experiencing no pain. After collection, the marrow is centrifuged to concentrate and purify the cells while removing unneeded ones. These cells, along with a preparation of concentrated blood platelets, are injected into the damaged disc using advanced imaging guidance.

Why our procedures for back and neck pain are the best options

Or, Why Our PRP Treatments are Very Different

The typical clinic uses an automated one-size-fits-all centrifuge to prepare cells. At Regenexx, our processing allows us to custom tailor our regenerative mixtures for your condition, and our patented two-tier processing results in 10 to 20 times more critical cells available for your treatment. While some practices add platelet-rich plasma to their concentrates, we use a proprietary super concentrated platelet mix. By mixing our second generation, lab-prepared Platelet-Rich Plasma (which contains slow release growth factors) and our third generation platelet lysate (immediately available growth factors), we were able to get bone marrow concentrate cells to grow many times more than just PRP or platelet lysate alone.

Fusion surgery is a highly invasive procedure and is more likely to cause complications (complications occur in 36% of fusion patients). 76% still required narcotics for pain and missed 3 times as much work as those who didn’t have surgery. 

A steroid epidural is an injection that places steroid medication around irritated or inflamed nerves in the spine. While they do help patients avoid surgery, epidurals use very high dose steroids that can cause severe side effects and actually reduce the body’s ability to heal.

Regenexx offers a variety of minimally invasive procedures for back pain & neck pain that deliver image-guided spinal injections of platelet lysates or bone marrow concentrate where needed.

Regenexx Alternatives to Back Surgery

Non-Surgical Treatment for Degenerated Disc Disease

Advanced Treatments for Degenerative Discs

Degenerated disc patients tend to lose disc height which can lead to a wide range of complications.

  • Compressed nerves (stenosis)
  • Facet joint overload leading to arthritis
  • Lax ligaments that result in overall spinal instability

Our treatment protocol focuses on platelet and/or bone marrow technologies deployed to treat sloppy disc movement due to lax ligaments and arthritic facet joints.

Each of these critical areas above may benefit from different types of procedures.

Only Regenexx has the experience and the broad spectrum of procedures that allow for effective treatment of all of these conditions. Regenexx procedures provide non-surgical treatment options for patients suffering from the complications associated with degenerative disc disease. By carefully targeting the right procedure to the impacted areas of the spine, patients can avoid spinal fusion surgery or frequent high dose steroid epidural injections and their associated side effects.

Choose a Provider

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Christopher J. Centeno, MD

Christopher J. Centeno, M.D. is an international expert and specialist in Interventional Orthopedics and the clinical use of bone marrow concentrate in orthopedics. He is board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation with a subspecialty of pain medicine through The American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr. Centeno is one of the few physicians in the world with extensive experience in the culture expansion of and clinical use of adult bone marrow concentrate to treat orthopedic injuries. His clinic incorporates a variety of revolutionary pain management techniques to bring its broad patient base relief and results. Dr. Centeno treats patients from all over the US who…

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John Schultz, MD

My passion and specialization are in the evaluation and treatment of cervical disc, facet, ligament and nerve pain, including the non-surgical treatment of Craniocervical instability (CCI). I quit a successful career in anesthesia and traditional pain management to pursue and advance the use of PRP and bone marrow concentrate for common orthopedic conditions. I have been a patient with severe pain and know firsthand the limitations of traditional orthopedic surgery. I am a co-founder of the Centeno-Schultz Clinic which was established in 2005. Being active is a central part of my life as I enjoy time skiing, biking, hiking, sailing with my family and 9 grandchildren.

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John Pitts, M.D.

Dr. Pitts is originally from Chicago, IL but is a medical graduate of Vanderbilt School of Medicine in Nashville, TN. After Vanderbilt, he completed a residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. The focus of PM&R is the restoration of function and quality of life. In residency, he gained much experience in musculoskeletal medicine, rehabilitation, spine, and sports medicine along with some regenerative medicine. He also gained significant experience in fluoroscopically guided spinal procedures and peripheral injections. However, Dr. Pitts wanted to broaden his skills and treatment options beyond the current typical standards of care.

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Jason Markle, D.O.

Post-residency, Dr. Markle was selected to the Interventional Orthopedic Fellowship program at the Centeno-Schultz Clinic. During his fellowship, he gained significant experience in the new field of Interventional Orthopedics and regenerative medicine, honing his skills in advanced injection techniques into the spine and joints treating patients with autologous, bone marrow concentrate and platelet solutions. Dr. Markle then accepted a full-time attending physician position at the Centeno-Schultz Clinic, where he both treats patients and trains Interventional Orthopedics fellows. Dr. Markle is an active member of the Interventional Orthopedic Foundation and serves as a course instructor, where he trains physicians from around the world.

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Matthew William Hyzy, D.O.

Doctor Hyzy is Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Physiatry) and fellowship-trained in Interventional Orthopedics and Spine. Dr. Hyzy is also clinical faculty at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; In addition, Dr. Hyzy is an Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor at The Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Hyzy also maintains an active hospital-based practice at Swedish Medical Center and Sky Ridge Medical Center. He is also recognized and qualified as an expert physician witness for medical-legal cases and Life Care Planning. He is published in the use of autologous solutions including…

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Brandon T. Money, D.O., M.S.

Dr. Money is an Indiana native who now proudly calls Colorado home. He attended medical school at Kansas City University and then returned to Indiana to complete a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residency program at Indiana University, where he was trained on non-surgical methods to improve health and function as well as rehabilitative care following trauma, stroke, spinal cord injury, brain injury, etc. Dr. Money has been following the ideology behind Centeno-Schultz Clinic and Regenexx since he was in medical school, as he believed there had to be a better way to care for patients than the status quo. The human body has incredible healing capabilities…

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