It is a pleasure to treat other doctors at our facilities. Having heard of the great results stem cells therapy has provided our other back pain patients, we were visited by a 53-year old physician with severe neck pain that prevented him from golf, skiing, and even good sleep. By undergoing stem cell therapy for his neck and spine, he was able to get back to golf and skiing within the year.
The Patient Profile of Severe Cervical Pain
The patient presented to me with a history of six months of severe right upper cervical pain. He described his pain as sharp in character with a stabbing sensation with lateral rotation of the neck to the right side. He was having immense difficulty with sleeping and discomfort while playing golf or skiing.
On exam, he was tender over the upper cervical facets on the right side for C2-5. His pain was intensified with right lateral rotation and especially if combined with extension. There was no radiation of pain into the right upper extremity or weakness in the right arm. MRI exam demonstrated degenerative facets on the right most severe at C2-C4. There were no disc herniations or spinal stenosis of significance. Daily pain scores ranged form 3/10-7/10 and were worst while trying to sleep.
Conservative Treatments Tried
The patient had undergone intra-articular facet injections at the right C2-5 levels with corticosteroid which helped significantly for approximately 4 weeks before pain returned to pre-injection pain levels. The patient struggled with his neck pain for a while and tried many other conservative treatments, too. Those included physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and extended resting. None of the treatments brought his pain to tolerable levels.
Stem Cell Procedure for the Patient’s Cervical Facet Dysfunction
The decision was made to have the patient undergo intra-articular facet injections at the C2-5 levels with a combination of adipose derived stem cells and bone marrow concentrate.
In February 2015, the patient underwent a combined procedure that included abdominal liposuction and bone marrow aspiration. Once the cells were processed and prepared for injection, the patient was placed in the prone position with a pillow under the chest and the head was turned slightly to the left for best exposure to the right cervical facets.
Under fluoroscopic visualization, a 26 gauge quincke tip needle was directed into the mid portion of each facet and location was verified by multi-planar fluoroscopic imaging and the use of tiny amounts of radio-opaque contrast material. Once the needles were in optimal position an injection of .5 cc’s of bone marrow concentrate with approximately 20 million nucleated adipose derived stem cells was injected into each joint without difficulty.
The patient tolerated the procedure with little discomfort and was discharged to home within four hours in comfortable and stable condition.
As part of thriveMD’s standard stem cell routine, the patient underwent a booster injection four weeks after the initial procedure to augment his progress. He had not begun to experience any relief prior to this injection. His booster shot was performed with bone marrow concentrate in an attempt to maximize his response. The injections were carried out in the exact same manner and locations as the first procedure. He tolerated the procedure without discomfort.
Short Term Results of the Neck Pain Stem Cell Treatment
In the first 6 weeks following the procedure, the patient returned to low impact activities and pilates training. He reported very mild improvement in his pain levels and a small amount of increased range of motion. Approximately 8 weeks following the procedure the patient began to report significant decreases in his pain scores and most importantly, dramatically improved sleep patterns that included longer sleep cycles without being awoken by pain.
By the 12th week following the procedure, the patient reported 90% improvement in his neck pain and markedly improved range of motion. His sleep had returned to a virtually normal pattern that he had not experienced in years.
Long Term Results of the Successful Treatment
The patient is now one year out from his cervical facet adipose-derived and bone marrow concentrate stem cell procedure. He continues to experience better than 90% improvement in his pre-injection pain scores. He has returned to playing golf without discomfort and skiing without aggravation to his cervical facet syndrome.
He continues to be amazed at the marked improvement in his almost debilitating pain syndrome. He reports that his only regret was not having the procedure done sooner.