Treating chronic back pain: An alternative to surgery and pills
BACK PAIN is one of most common reasons people see a doctor or miss days at work. Back pain can range in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp or shooting pain.
There are two types of back pain – acute or short-term back pain that lasts a few days to a few weeks. It usually resolves on its own within a few days with self-care and there is no long-term loss of function. However, chronic back pain is pain that continues for 12 weeks or longer, even after an initial injury or underlying cause of back pain has been treated.
According to Dr Janice Simmonds-Fisher, chief executive officer and founder at Bio-Regeneration Integrated Medical Centre, chronic back pain is a debilitating condition that can significantly impact a person’s quality of life.
“Back pain is considered chronic if it lasts three months or longer. It can come and go, often bringing temporary relief, followed by frustration. Dealing with chronic back pain can be especially trying if you do not know the cause,” Dr Simmonds-Fisher said.
Conventional management for chronic back pain is long-term pain medication, steroid injections, physical therapy, braces and surgery. However, Dr Simmonds-Fisher indicated that traditional treatments such as medication, physical therapy, and surgery may not always be effective in treating the underlying causes of chronic back pain.
She recommends a relatively new treatment option that has shown promising results in treating back pain – Platelet Fibrin Therapy, or PRF injections.
“Platelet-rich fibrin (PRF) injections are a type of treatment that is used to help alleviate pain and promote healing in various parts of the body. PRF is a type of platelet concentrate that is derived from a person’s own blood, and it is thought to have numerous benefits when it comes to relieving pain and promoting healing,” Dr Simmonds-Fisher said.
The main ones they target, she said, are structural abnormalities of the spine from back injury, accidents and ageing resulting in arthritis, slipped discs and pinched nerves.
“There are repair factors in the blood that create a scab when there is a cut, broken vessel or damaged tissue. We can take these repair factors, activate them, and put them in an area where there is a delay in healing and promote faster healing of the area,” Dr Simmonds-Fisher said.
“Sometimes the area was non-healing because of infection, scar tissue, poor blood flow, bad diet, chronic illness and chronic inflammation. The repair factors will reduce scarring, signal better blood flow, and improve signalling for healing,” she added.
PRF injections offer a number of potential benefits for chronic pain relief, and they may be an effective option for people looking to alleviate pain and discomfort in various parts of the body.
It is important to note, however, that the effectiveness of PRF injections may vary depending on the individual and the specific condition being treated, and it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new treatment regimen.
“The procedure not only treats pain, but is revolutionary because it can stop the degenerative process which cannot be claimed by any other treatment. Patients who are unable to use painkillers because of side effects on the stomach or kidney can have access to non-surgical treatments. Pain relief is long term, which can be several years, unlike braces and painkillers. Many patients can return to active lifestyles without long-term care, low side effects profile and minimal downtime,” Dr Simmonds-Fisher said.
The lates t Global Burden of Disease Study, published at the end of 2012, has highlighted the enormous global burden of low back pain. In contrast to the previous study, when it was ranked 105 out of 136 conditions, low back pain is now the leading cause of disability globally, ahead of 290 other conditions.
SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF PRF THERAPY INJECTIONS FOR BACK PAIN INCLUDE:
• Long-lasting relief: Unlike traditional pain treatments that may only provide temporary relief, PRF therapy injections can provide long-lasting pain relief for up to a year or more. This is because the procedure targets the root cause of the pain, rather than just masking the symptoms.
• Non-invasive: PRF therapy injections are a minimally invasive procedure that does not require surgery. The procedure can be done in a doctor’s office or outpatient clinic, and patients can usually go home the same day.
• Low risk: PRF therapy injections are a low-risk procedure that does not have the same risks associated with surgery or long-term use of medications. There is a small risk of infection or bleeding, but this is rare.
• Improved mobility: Chronic back pain can significantly limit a person’s mobility and ability to perform daily activities. PRF therapy injections can help improve mobility by reducing pain and inflammation, allowing patients to resume normal activities.
• Customisable treatment: PRF therapy injections can be customised to the individual patient’s needs. The treatment can be tailored to the specific area of the back that is causing the pain, which can improve the effectiveness of the treatment.
• Cost-effective: PRF therapy injections are a cost-effective treatment option for chronic back pain. The procedure is less expensive than surgery and can provide long-term pain relief, reducing the need for ongoing treatments.
BioRegeneration Integrated Medical Centre specialises in Platelet Fibrin Therapy using your own platelets. This treatment is done locally by Dr Simmonds-Fisher, who has pioneered regenerative medicine in Jamaica for over a decade, providing a life-improving treatment that enjoys over 90 per cent success rate in our population.