Back problems: Three new therapies rejuvenate the spine
Perhaps the most exciting new development in back pain and disc problems are outpatient therapies that significantly rejuvenate thin and worn intervertebral discs and vertebral joints. But what can the new therapies do, how do they work and which back problems do they make sense?
Too thin discs, bulging discs or even slipped discs, worn-out vertebral joints - especially on the back, degeneration through overweight, wrong load or simply "only" the age is particularly painful. Almost everyone knows about back problems.
Intervertebral disc problems are already in their mid 20s
By the age of 25 at the latest, this misconduct already has significant consequences for muscles, tendons, intervertebral discs and vertebral joints. There are first degenerative changes. Back problems increase afterwards, comparable to a steeply running sinus curve, which reaches its peak at about 55 years.
"Germany is world champion in back surgery"
Of course, too often the surgical procedure is the drug of choice for spinal injuries. The most common operation in Germany is the back operation - intervertebral discs, vertebral body stiffening ... "Germany is world champion in these operations," says the expert. However, the success of these interventions is manageable and often only short-term: Around every third patient undergoes stiffening surgery and every fourth intervertebral disc operation returns within two years and needs to be reoperated.
Back OPS are usually superfluous and unsuccessful
"Only two percent of patients with severe back problems require surgery," says Marianowicz. This is the case when a nerve dies or paraplegia threatens. Nevertheless back operations in Germany continue to be carried on happily. Because "in many clinics, spine surgery is the most economically important department" and because every clinic has to be reckoned with, these surgeries are not reduced.
Three new therapies that stimulate the body to self-heal
In most cases (80 percent), the more successful approach is a conservative, non-invasive method that also stimulates the body's self-healing powers. Because in most cases, the body "heals" itself and arranges itself with a worn disc, so that after some time no more pain occurs.
Particularly promising in this context are three new forms of treatment. The keyword is bioregenerative therapies. "You could revolutionize orthopedics as well as the stents in constricted coronary arteries the cardiology," the spine expert compares.
1. PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) Concentrate of the body's own platelets
For which back problems is PRP suitable?
PRP is useful in all back problems caused by degenerated discs (black disc), but also in damage to the vertebral joints of the entire spine such as the facet joint syndrome.
2. Adult body stem cells from the body's own belly fat
For which back problems is therapy with adult autologous stem cells suitable?
Intervertebral disc (as in PRP), joint arthrosis, joint problems, such as cartilage damage
3. Hydrogel - not to be confused with hyaluronic acid
For which back problems is hydrogel suitable?
Disc problems due to degeneration, disc protrusion or covered disc prolapse (longitudinal ligament between the spinous processes has been preserved).
If the herniated disc is also a current problem for you, then our experts are here to help you.
Herniated Disc: When and how to operate?
Back pain is a widespread condition. If the pain radiates into the leg, usually a damaged disc is the cause. An operation is neither necessary nor useful in most cases. Experts have been criticizing for years that too many herniated discs are operated without first applying conservative therapies.
We ask our experts: When does an operation make sense?
After a herniated disc surgery in these cases is recommended:
If the damaged disc is so bad on the nerves that it comes to numbness and paralysis in the pelvis and legs, threatening permanent nerve damage.
When very severe and prolonged pain does not improve with conservative therapies such as medication, physiotherapy and manual therapy.
Then surgery of the disc can relieve pain and prevent dangerous complications. The surgical procedures are much gentler today than they used to be. If there is no paralysis in the leg after a herniated disc, surgery is usually not necessary.
Symptoms: deafness, tingling, paralysis
Which discomfort causes a herniated disc, depends on where it occurs, whether nerves or nerve roots are involved and whether it comes to an inflammation. A severe course can lead to the loss of nerve functions. This manifests itself for example in the form of numbness, tingling and paralysis symptoms.
Disease often goes unnoticed
In around 90 percent of herniated discs, the symptoms disappear spontaneously within six to twelve weeks. Many sufferers do not even notice the herniated disc. In a study of symptom-free people between the ages of 24 and 42 from different occupations, researchers found a herniated disc in 60 percent of those who did not cause any problems. Only in a few cases does chronic ailments develop from acute complaints.
Combination therapy for the intervertebral disc
The treatment of disc discomfort has changed in recent years: While long-term surgery or rest and comfort have been recommended, modern treatments rely on a combination of classic pain medications, physiotherapy, heat treatments, massage, relaxation procedures, muscle training, and psychological support.
Periradicular therapy: injecting to the nerve
Another treatment approach is the periradicular therapy (PRT): Here, the doctor injected under X-ray control a mixture of painkillers and cortisone directly to the constricted nerve root. This leads to a subsidence of inflammation and swelling. This way, surgery can be avoided in many cases.
Intervertebral disc endoscopically operate
If the conservative therapy does not succeed, only the operation remains. In most cases, the gelatinous nucleus escaped from the intervertebral disc is removed endoscopically in a half-hour procedure. If the operation succeeds, the complaints are usually abruptly disappeared.
Should an artificial disc be used?
Under certain conditions, a defect can be replaced by an artificial disc. However, these disc prostheses are useful only in a few cases, especially in younger patients with an isolated herniated disc in the cervical spine. Conditions for an intervertebral disc prosthesis are stable vertebral bones and intact vertebral joints. The prosthesis, modeled on a natural disc, is designed to maintain the space between the vertebrae and maintain their normal mobility, thereby relieving pain.