At the Centeno Schultz Clinic, we acknowledge that the pain associated with lumbar disc herniation can be debilitating. It may be that unrelenting sharp knife in the lower part of your back or the burning electrical stabbing pain that travels from your buttock down to your ankle.
Patients with lumbar disc herniations are often prescribed extensive physical therapy, chiropractic care, massage, acupuncture, a trial of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, oral steroids, and injected steroids. When the pain is unresponsive to conservative care, surgery looks attractive. Patients grasp at virtually anything to end the constant pain. Lumbar fusion is a common surgery that is recommended.
What Is Fusion Surgery?
A one-level fusion is when the damaged intervertebral disc is removed and the two adjacent vertebral bodies are bolted together, thereby, creating a fused single structure.
Unfortunately, there are significant problems with fusions. A major one is termed adjacent segment disease. As a result of the fusion, the discs and facet joints both above and below the fusion can become overloaded as they take on extra stress. This is additional work that these adjacent segments were never intended to do. This results in progressive injury to the discs and facets above and below the fusion. Click here to see a video explaining adjacent segment disease.
Other problems associated with lumbar fusion include the following:
- Physical therapy has been shown to be just as effective at relieving pain and function as a back fusion.
- Pain, disability, and quality of life have been shown to be no more improved with a fusion than they are with conservative approaches.
- Fusion surgery for spinal stenosis has been found to be no more effective for pain and function than physical therapy.
Are There Nonsurgical Regenerative Options?
Yes, the Centeno-Schutz Clinic offers a variety of minimally invasive procedures that deliver ultraprecise spinal injections of platelets or stem cells where needed, utilizing advanced imaging guidance.
CC is 45-year-old patient with chronic low-back and leg pain who declined surgery and opted for platelet rich plasma (PRP) epidural and facet injections at the Centeno-Schultz Clinic.
His before and after MRIs are highlighted at the top of this post. Prior to treatment, he had a significant extrusion at L3–4, which is identified by the red arrow. The L4–5 had a significant protrusion, which is identified by blue arrow. Eleven months post injection, CC reports a greater than 95% reduction in pain and full return to activity. His post-procedure MRI on the right demonstrates significant improvement in both levels, identified by red and blue arrows.
CC hit a home run by regaining his level of activity, reducing his pain, and avoiding surgery and its associated complications! This was all accomplished by Dr. Chris Williams, a board-certified, fellowship-trained physician who utilized Regenexx platelet injections!