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Herniated Disc Overview

Discs are the soft, spongy tissue between your vertebrae (bones in your spine). They act like cushions to absorb any shock experienced when you move.

Herniated discs develop when the soft inner core of a disc projects out through a tear in the outer layer. This can cause nerve compression, leading to intense pain that can radiate from your lower back into your legs or arms. 

Herniated discs are usually caused by age-related wear and tear, physical trauma, or repeated strain on the lower back. For example, lifting heavy objects, playing certain sports, or being in a car accident can all cause herniated discs. Depending on the severity, a herniated disc can heal on its own over time; however, many individuals require medical intervention to alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with a disc herniation.

Symptoms Of A Herniated Disc

The most common symptom of a herniated disc is pain that can spread from your lower back down into the legs or arms. Depending on which nerve is compressed, you may experience other symptoms, such as:

  • Numbness and tingling in your extremities
  • Muscle weakness or spasms
  • Difficulty bending over or twisting 
  • Pain when sneezing, coughing, or sitting for long periods 
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control 

Conventional Treatment Options

If a doctor has diagnosed you as having a herniated disc, there are several conventional treatments they may recommend based on the severity of your condition, including various medications and surgical procedures. It’s important to note that while many over-the-counter or prescription medications can help provide temporary pain relief, they don’t address the symptoms’ root cause. 

Additionally, any surgical procedures a doctor recommends should be considered a last resort. Surgery can be expensive, result in long recovery times, and lead to various complications (infections, allergic reactions, and even nerve damage). Furthermore, surgery isn’t guaranteed to be successful.

With that in mind, the following are the conventional treatment options that a doctor is likely to recommend for a herniated disc:

Corticosteroid Injections

A corticosteroid injection is a medical procedure that involves inserting a needle into the back and delivering medication directly to the affected area. Corticosteroids are steroid medications that can reduce inflammation and pain. The main downside to corticosteroid injections is that their effects only last a few weeks, so they will need to be repeated if the symptoms return. 


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are medications that reduce inflammation and pain. Common examples include ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin. NSAIDs are usually taken orally on a regular basis to achieve the desired effect; however, it’s important to note that they may cause stomach irritation or bleeding in some patients if taken in large doses or over prolonged periods of time. They also tend to lose their efficacy over time. 


A microdiscectomy is a surgical procedure designed to remove small fragments of bone, disc, and ligaments to relieve pressure on the compressed nerve. The process involves making a small incision in the back and inserting a tiny microscope to locate the herniated disc material. A surgeon will then carefully remove it using medical instruments.

Lumbar Laminectomy

A lumbar laminectomy is a surgery involving the removal of a small piece of the lamina of the vertebrae (the small bones of the spine), which helps to relieve pressure on the nerve roots and alleviate pain. This type of procedure is particularly invasive since it requires the removal of some bone and soft tissue.

Artificial Disc Replacement

An artificial disc replacement surgery involves replacing the damaged disc with an artificial one. The artificial disc is usually made from metal and plastic, and is designed to provide cushioning, flexibility, and mobility, much like a natural disc. This type of surgery is only recommended for cases where the disc has been severely damaged, and other treatments have failed. 

Spinal Fusion

Spinal fusion is a surgery involving the fusion of two or more vertebrae. This procedure helps reduce pain and prevent any further movement of the affected area. A doctor may recommend spinal fusion if other treatments have failed, and the herniated disc has caused severe instability or deformity in the spine. It’s important to note that spinal fusion can lead to increased stiffness in the back, so it should only be considered a last resort. 

Endoscopic Foraminoplasty 

Endoscopic foraminoplasty is considered one of the least invasive types of spinal surgery. It involves using a small, flexible camera to identify the herniated disc and carefully remove it. This procedure is typically used for smaller herniations near the nerve root.

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What Is Platelet-Rich Plasma, Or PRP? 

PRP is a type of treatment involving the injection of platelets and growth factors into the affected area. This helps to stimulate healing, reduce inflammation, and alleviate pain. It does this by providing the body with increased amounts of platelets. Platelets are cells in the blood that help with clotting and which contain growth factors that help the body heal itself. 

PRP treatments are formulated by taking a sample of the patient’s own blood and separating the platelets. These concentrated platelets are then re-injected into the area of injury. 

PRP has been used for various medical conditions, including herniated discs, and is considered one of the most effective treatments for reducing pain and inflammation. It is nonsurgical and won’t cause any complications since it uses the patient’s own platelets. 


PRP For Herniated Discs

Because a herniated disc is essentially a bulging or torn disc that places pressure on the nerve roots, PRP can be an effective treatment option. This is because PRP promotes the regeneration of damaged tissue and reduces inflammation by increasing blood flow to the area, thereby reducing the pressure on the nerve root. 

Overall, PRP is an effective, non-invasive treatment for herniated discs. It will also provide long-term relief since it helps stimulate the body’s natural ability to heal itself, rather than just masking the symptoms with medication or other treatments. PRP may offer an effective alternative with fewer risks and a shorter recovery time for those who don’t want to resort to surgery. 


Why Are Orthagenex PRP Injections Superior?

PRP treatment has become a popular solution for a wide variety of medical conditions, including herniated discs. It’s particularly popular in sports medicine due to its short recovery times and effectiveness and because it is free of complications associated with surgery. However, not all PRP injections are created equally. 

At Orthagenex, we use only the highest quality materials and advanced techniques to ensure superior results for our patients. The following are the primary reasons why our PRP injections are superior to those provided by most other clinics: 


Image-Guidance To Place PRP Solutions

Most clinics will provide PRP treatment using blind injections, meaning they make an educated guess about where to inject the platelets. For example, when treating a herniated disc, they may inject the platelets near the affected area without knowing exactly where to place them. 

We use a combination of MSK ultrasound and fluoroscopy to precisely place the platelets right where they are needed instead of relying on blind injections.

MSK ultrasound is an ultrasound technology that provides high-resolution images of the musculoskeletal system. This helps us to accurately identify the location and size of a herniated disc and see precisely where we need to inject the platelets. Fluoroscopy is an imaging technique that makes use of X-rays to track the movement of substances through the body. Combining these two techniques allows us to target the herniated disc more accurately, ensuring that our PRP injections are as effective as possible.


Lab-Processed For Higher Concentrations Of Platelets

At Orthagenex, we use a lab environment to process our PRP mixtures. Traditionally, PRP solutions are processed in a centrifuge (spinner), which separates platelets from the rest of the blood. However, this process can be highly variable based on the operator and the equipment used. 

Our protocol is a more consistent method for processing PRP solutions by doing so in a lab setting. This allows us to customize the PRP solution for each patient and create a higher concentration of platelets than possible with traditional centrifuging. In fact, the PRP solutions we use consist of 10 to 30 times as many platelets over baseline levels.

The use of a lab platform ensures that our PRP injections are as effective as possible in treating herniated discs. The following are a few examples of how we can customize your PRP treatment using a lab setting to provide a higher level of care:


Amber PRP vs. Red PRP

Red PRP treatment refers to PRP solutions that contain red and white blood cells. PRP treatments processed in the traditional bedside centrifuge are red PRP solutions. The problem with red PRP treatment is that studies have shown that red and white blood cells can inhibit stem cells. Stem cells are required for healing damaged tissue, so it’s important not to inhibit their growth.

Because we process our PRP solutions using a clinical lab, we can remove white and red blood cells from the PRP solution. This creates an amber PRP solution with a higher concentration of platelets and growth factors without white or red blood cells interfering with the healing process. This ensures that our PRP injections are as effective as possible in treating herniated discs. 


Next-Generation Platelet Lysate 

Traditional PRP injections release the platelets and growth factors over time (usually a week). Think of them as time-release capsules. In general, this is an effective way of delivering platelets and growth factors to the affected area.

However, there are cases where it’s beneficial to release the platelets and growth factors immediately. To do this, we use a next-generation platelet lysate (PL). This solution has been treated in such a way that it releases all of its platelets and growth factors immediately after injection. It also contains a more concentrated dose of platelets and growth factors than traditional PRP solutions, making it ideal for cases in which immediate action is needed. 

Whether you need a traditional PRP injection or a next-generation platelet lysate will depend on your condition and the severity of the herniated disc. After evaluating your condition, we can help you decide which is best for you. 


PRP Customized To Every Patient’s Need

At Orthagenex, we believe that every patient is unique and deserves to receive personalized care. That’s why we customize our PRP solutions for each patient based on their specific needs. We can do this in the following ways:


Solutions Are Customized in a  Lab Setting

Because we process our PRP solutions in a lab, we can easily customize our PRP treatments by adjusting the concentration of platelets and growth factors for each patient. We can also remove any components that could interfere with the healing process. 

This allows us to tailor our PRP solutions to your specific condition, ensuring they’re as effective as possible. 


Bone Marrow Concentrate Can Be Used 

In some cases, we may recommend a bone marrow concentrate (BMC) injection. This is a concentrated solution that contains stem cells and growth factors from your own bone marrow. BMC injections can help to accelerate the healing process by supplying additional stem cells and growth factors. Whether or not BMC injections should be used instead of PRP treatments depends on the condition and how severe it is.


Doctors Specializing In Interventional Orthopedics

At Orthagenex, our physicians are board-certified and fellowship-trained in interventional orthopedics, meaning they’re experts in treating orthopedic injuries and conditions using nonsurgical techniques.

Only 1% of US physicians are trained in interventional orthopedics, so you can be sure your doctor is an expert in this field. Our doctors have the experience and expertise to accurately diagnose your condition and customize a PRP solution tailored to your specific needs. 


Core Competencies

Our doctors have unique core competencies that allow them to provide the highest level of care. They use image guidance to place injectates directly into damaged tissues, ensuring our PRP treatments are as effective as possible. We also perform SANS (stability, articulation, neuromuscular, and symmetry) evaluations to identify the cause of your condition and develop a customized treatment plan. 

This combination of diagnostic capabilities, treatment options, and core competencies allows us to provide you with the most comprehensive care possible. 


Orthagenex – Your Alternative To Herniated Disc Surgery

At Orthagenex, we believe that surgery should always be a last resort. That’s why we offer PRP treatments as an alternative to herniated disc surgery. Our customized PRP solutions are designed to relieve pain and help heal damaged tissues without having to resort to invasive procedures. 

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