FAQs on Disc Injection in Houston

Disc injections help treat degenerative disc disorders successfully without invasive surgeries. These injections have become immensely popular in the last three decades thanks to successive studies acknowledging their efficacy. Clinical trials have proved that a significantly higher percentage of patients treated with disc injections are able to avoid surgery while enjoying significant pain relief.

What is Disc Injection?

Disc injections involve intradiscal insertion of medication to the disc to reduce the inflammation or help the cells to regenerate. Degenerative discs are responsible for back pain in about 40 percent patients. As one grows old, the intervertebral discs dry out and shrink. Many young adults also face the specter of symptoms associated with disc wear and tear due to stress, trauma, or other factors.

Such changes in the disc result in disc herniation or onset of arthritis and spinal stenosis causing patients to suffer from pain and restricted mobility. This also puts pressure on the spine and nerves leading to back pain. Disc injections offer to alleviate these painful conditions through a variety of ways.

What Are Different Types of Disc Injections?

  • Steroid Injections: Similar to epidural or facet joint injections, these injections are administered directly to discs. Steroid helps reduce the inflammation and improve mobility on semi-permanent basis.
  • Stem Cell Injections: Similar to PRP injections, the stem cell therapy involves administration of platelet-rich injections to the discs. Stem cells replace the degenerated and weaker cells while generating new ones to support the existing cells. A permanent solution, these injections improve the self-healing capability and help overcome musculoskeletal disorders.

Why Should I Go For Disc Injection?

Disc injections offer greater assurance of successful pain treatment than intra-discal electrothermal treatment or surgical intervention. Minimal invasive, the outpatient procedure has no major side effect compared to post-operative complications. Patients do not require artificial disc replacements that are much maligned for their adverse events and life-long care.

Stem cell injections enhance the natural healing ability of the body and provide a permanent solution at low cost. Again, these injections are done as outpatient and patients can go home same day and join their work next day.

When Patients Require Disc Injection? What Conditions Are Treated Through Disc Injection?

  • Degenerative disc diseases
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Intervertebral disc injury
  • Disc pain due to arthritis
  • Herniated disc pain
  • Baker’s cyst in the knee
  • Chronic knee pain
  • Chondromalacia or swelling in the cartilage
  • Spinal facet joint arthritis
  • Inflammation of discs
  • Patelofemoral pain or Runner’s Knee disorder
  • Disc sprain
  • Osteoarthritis impeding functioning of ligaments
  • Enthesopathy or pain due to disorder in bone attachments

How Is Disc Injection Performed?

Steroid injections are administered much like epidural pain management injections. Numbing medication help make the skin and surrounding soft tissues insensitive and steroid medication is injected to the nearest place of the joints under fluoroscopic guidance. The medication spreads into the disc area and reduces the inflammation.

For stem cell injections, about 30-60 cc’s of blood is obtained from the bone marrow in the hip bone of the patient. Platelet rich plasma is obtained from it using a method referred to as blood fractionation. This harvested plasma is rich in stem cells that can replicate themselves into any type of body cell.

Once the blood fractionation is over, it is kept in a needle and administered to the patient within four to five days. The second-stage process is similar to the steroid injections, except the fact that platelet rich plasma replaces steroid as the medication.

How Long Does It Take?

The injection procedure is over within 15 to 30 minutes.

Do I Need Rest After Disc Injection?

Being an outpatient procedure, patients are freed within an hour, including the injection and observation time. It is advisable to take rest for a day and do not beyond the activities that you can tolerate or put stress on your injection site.

How Many Disc Injection Injections Should I Have?

The number of disc injections and its repetition is subject to patients’ conditions.

What Are The Side Effects of Disc Injection?

  • No major side effects.
  • Short-term effects, such as soreness and injection site pain, subside within days.
  • Doctor’s error may lead to nerve damage, bleeding, or injection-site infections. Select an expert doctor and reputed clinic.
  • Steroid may cause allergy or increased blood sugar. Consult your doctor and take adequate caution.

How Well Does Disc Injection Work? What Are The Benefits of Disc Injection?

Disc injections are now used as frontline treatment for degenerative disc disease. In 2004, the Spine journal reported a study that cited usefulness of steroid directly injections into the disc in providing considerable back pain relief. Another 2007 report based on a study by the Florida Spine Institute discovered that spinal stenosis was reduced allowing no-pain walking and standing following administration of these injections. When performed after a few months, disc injections assure long-term relief from disc pain.

Stem cell injections provide permanent relief. Their role as regenerative medicine, help transform the disease by restoring the discs to their original conditions. According to the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, stem cell disc injection repairs ligaments and prevents arthritis takeover. It can stop degradation of cartilage through cell regeneration, claims a research spearheaded by the Hospital for Special Surgery.

References

Pearce RH, Grimmer BJ, Adams ME. Degeneration and the chemical composition of the human lumbar intervertebral disc. J Orthop Res. 1987;5(2):198-205.

Bogduk N, Windsor M, Inglis A. The innervation of the cervical intervertebral discs. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). Jan 1988;13(1):2-8.

Young IA, Hyman GS, Packia-Raj LN, Cole AJ; The use of lumbar epidural/transforaminal steroids for managing spinal disease. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2007 Apr;15(4):228-38

Abdi S, et al; Epidural steroids in the management of chronic spinal pain: a systematic review. Pain Physician. 2007 Jan;10(1):185-212.

Mishra, A., & Pavelko, T. (2006). Treatment of Chronic Elbow Tendinosis with Buffered Platelet-Rich Plasma. Am J Sports Med , 1774-1778.

Rabago, D., & Zgierska, A. (2012). Epicondylitis. Retrieved from MD Consult. Rakel: Integrative Medicine, 3rd ed.

Keerthi N, Chimutengwende-Gordon M, Sanghani A, Khan W. The potential of stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Curr Stem Cell Res Ther. 2013 Nov;8(6):444-50.

Kamei G, Kobayashi T, Ohkawa S, Kongcharoensombat W, Adachi N, Takazawa K, Shibuya H, Deie M, Hattori K, Goldberg JL, Ochi M. Articular cartilage repair with magnetic mesenchymal stem cells. Am J Sports Med 2013 Apr 19. [epub ahead of print]

Shvartzman L, Weingarten E, Sherry H, et al. Cost-effectiveness analysis of extended conservative therapy versus surgical intervention in the management of herniated lumbar intervertebral disc. Spine. Feb 1992;17(2):176-82.