Spinal stenosis can be an incredibly debilitating condition as it can cause chronic pain and a lack of mobility in the back, hips, and legs. As a result, the condition can significantly diminish your quality of life if not properly treated. Unfortunately, spinal stenosis can not be cured since it’s caused by degenerative changes in the spine. However, there are ways to treat spinal stenosis so that you can manage the symptoms and improve your quality of life. One of the most effective treatments is high-dose platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections.
Understanding The Spinal Stenosis Condition
Spinal stenosis develops when the spinal canal becomes too narrow, thereby compressing the nerves. Nerve compression, in turn, can affect movement and sensation. This narrowing of the spinal canal can be caused by age-related degeneration or injury.
Oftentimes, there is no pain or discomfort until the narrowing worsens and compresses the nerve roots. Patients may experience various symptoms when this happens, including lower back pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the extremities. In more severe cases, patients may experience a loss of bladder or bowel control.
Spinal stenosis can cause so many different symptoms because the spine is essentially the highway for the central nervous system. Excessive pressure on the nerves that make up this “highway” can have far-reaching effects throughout the body.
The Difficulty Of Diagnosing Spinal Stenosis
It’s estimated that anywhere between 250,000 to 500,000 Americans are living with symptoms caused by spinal stenosis. It’s a much more common condition in older patients because it’s often caused by age-related degeneration. Studies show that roughly five out of every 1000 persons over 50 are likely to have the condition. However, the exact prevalence is difficult to determine because spinal stenosis can be hard to diagnose.
One significant difficulty in diagnosing spinal stenosis is that the symptoms can be similar to other conditions, such as herniated discs or scoliosis. Additionally, because spinal stenosis can cause pain in other areas of the body (such as in the leg or hip), the condition can be easily misdiagnosed. Finally, many people with spinal stenosis don’t show any symptoms until the narrowing of the spine is quite severe and is pressing on the nerves. As a result, it can be difficult to identify the condition until it has progressed significantly.
Why Seek Out High-Dose PRP Injections For Spinal Stenosis?
Conservative treatments for spinal stenosis include anti-inflammatories and epidural cortisone injections. The problem with these types of treatments is that they only provide temporary relief by masking the symptoms and do not address the condition’s underlying cause.
In more severe cases, a traditional doctor might suggest a surgical procedure, such as a laminectomy, which involves cutting away bone and tissue to reduce pressure on the nerves. The problem with such procedures is that not only can they be expensive, but they are incredibly invasive. Because of this, there are potential complications, including infections, allergic reactions, long recovery times, and the potential for nerve damage.
How PRP Injections Work
Platelet-rich plasma is a concentration of platelets from the patient’s blood. This plasma is rich in growth factors that aid in healing and promote tissue regeneration. When administered directly to the affected area, these growth factors can help stimulate and accelerate tissue repair.
When treating spinal stenosis, injections of high doses of platelet-rich plasma can help reduce swelling and inflammation in the spine by promoting tissue regeneration in the affected area. As a result, PRP injections help alleviate pressure on the nerves, which can help provide long-term relief from pain, numbness, and other symptoms caused by spinal stenosis.
The Basic Procedures Of PRP Treatment
The procedure for treating spinal stenosis with PRP injections is relatively straightforward. First, the doctor will draw the patient’s blood, and the platelet-rich plasma will be extracted from it. The site where the injection will be administered is then treated with a numbing agent. Once this agent takes effect, the PRP is injected with a needle. The doctor administering the injection will use ultrasound imaging as a guide to ensure that the injection is accurate and effective.
Drawing the blood and processing the platelets will take roughly 30 minutes. Then, it will take another 15 minutes or so for the numbing agent to take effect. Finally, the actual injection shouldn’t take more than 10 to 30 minutes. All in all, you can expect the entire procedure to take an hour to an hour and a half.
Patients may experience some mild discomfort or soreness in the area of the injection, but this should fade quickly. In most cases, patients experience a significant reduction in pain and other symptoms within just a few days. However, several injections may be needed depending on the severity of the condition and individual circumstances. Typically, you’ll need to undergo anywhere from two to six injections one to two weeks apart.
How Safe Are PRP Injections?
PRP injections are generally considered safe, with few risks and side effects. While there is always a risk of infection associated with any injection, the risk is minimal when using a sterile procedure and medical-grade equipment. Additionally, some patients may experience mild discomfort or soreness at the injection site. However, this should resolve quickly. You may experience some swelling and bruising as well, both of which should subside after a few days.
The primary benefit of using PRP injections for treatment is that it is an effective and minimally invasive method of treating spinal stenosis. It also carries fewer risks than surgery, as well as a shorter recovery time and less disruption to the patient’s daily activities. Not to mention, the substance being injected is the patient’s own platelet-rich plasma, so there is no risk of an allergic reaction, nor are there any risks of side effects similar to those presented when using anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroid injections.
Results From High-Dose PRP Treatment Of Spinal Stenosis
Recovery time following injections is quick. Any side effects (such as mild pain or bruising) should disappear after 48 hours. However, you should avoid strenuous exercises for a few weeks afterward. Most patients will begin experiencing pain relief within two to three weeks after their first injection, after which results will continue to improve for three to six months.
Studies have shown that PRP injections are highly effective at providing long-term pain relief for patients suffering from chronic back pain in general. For example, one study found that subjects treated with PRP injections experienced a significant decrease in the intensity of their pain after six months.
It’s also worth noting that according to a report published by the Journal of Spine Surgery, PRP injections had the same impact on research subjects dealing with chronic pain caused by disc degeneration (meaning, subjects experienced a significant amount of pain relief after six months). Because of how PRP injections work, their success in managing pain caused by disc degeneration also applies to how they can treat spinal stenosis.
Targeting Spinal Stenosis Pain At The Source
High-dose PRP injections are a safe, minimally-invasive, drug-free alternative for treating spinal stenosis. At Orthagenex, we offer the highest quality and safest PRP treatments to help provide optimal outcomes for our patients. We develop personalized treatment plans tailored to each individual’s condition and needs. We are committed to providing the best possible care for those suffering from chronic spinal stenosis pain. Contact us for more information on how PRP injections can help you find relief from chronic pain and improve your quality of life.
Have confidence in your treatment options for spinal stenosis.