Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease in a condition in which damage to the spinal disc causes pain that can range from nagging to disabling.

The Stem Cells Transplant Institute in Costa Rica, recommends the use of adult mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of degenerative disc disease.

Treatment at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute could help improve the symptoms of degenerative disc disease including:

  • Pain especially when sitting, bending, lifting or twisting
  • Periods of severe pain that can last a few days or months
  • Pain that ranges from nagging to disabling
  • Pain in the lower back, buttocks, neck, and thighs
  • Numbness in the arms and/or legs
  • Weakness in the leg muscles including foot droop

What is Degenerative Disc Disease?

Our discs are like shock absorbers between the bones of the spine. The discs are designed to help the back stay flexible while also protecting the back from resisting forces.

Over time our spinal discs break down due to injury and or aging. Each disc has two parts; a firm outer layer and soft, jelly like core. Damage to either of these layers or both of these layers can result in quite a lot of pain.

Loss of fluid in the inner layer can reduce the discs ability to act as a shock absorber. It can dry out, making the disc thinner and narrowing the distance between the vertebrae.

Damage to the outer layer can cause cracks or tears allowing the inner layer to leak its jelly like material causing the disc to bulge or rupture.

The changes in the disc can result in:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Herniated disc
  • Spinal stenosis

Why Should I Consider Stem Cell Therapy?

Traditional treatment options include acupuncture, back braces, pain management or surgery. Surgery is the only treatment that can provide a long-term solution but recovery can be difficult and take a year or more, also there can be serious surgery related complications.

Stem cells are a type of undifferentiated cell that are able to differentiate into specialized cell types. Stem cells can be guided into becoming a specific type of cell allowing physicians trained in the field of regenerative medicine to use stem cells to repair diseased or damage tissue.

How can stem cell therapy improve the symptoms of degenerative disc disease?

Our discs are like shock absorbers between the bones of the spine. The discs are designed to help the back stay flexible while also protecting the back from resisting forces.

Over time our spinal discs break down due to injury and or aging. Each disc has two parts; a firm outer layer and soft, jelly like core. Damage to either of these layers or both of these layers can result in quite a lot of pain.

Loss of fluid in the inner layer can reduce the discs ability to act as a shock absorber. It can dry out, making the disc thinner and narrowing the distance between the vertebrae.

Damage to the outer layer can cause cracks or tears allowing the inner layer to leak its jelly like material causing the disc to bulge or rupture.

The changes in the disc can result in:

  • Stem cell therapy promotes self-healing
  • Stem cell therapy is less invasive than surgery
  • Quicker recovery
  • Less down time
  • Less pain and a more rapid improvement of symptoms

Stem cell therapy can reduce the symptoms degenerative disc disease including: improve range of motion, reduce inflammation, reduce stiffness, and potentially delay or eliminate the need for surgery; allowing patients to fully engage in the activities they enjoy.

Mesenchymal stem cells have the ability to:

  • Promote self-healing
  • Repair or replace bone or cartilage tissue
  • Have potent anti-inflammatory capabilities
  • Modulate abnormal immune system responses
  • Prevent additional premature cell and tissue damage
  • Reduce scarring
  • Stimulate new blood vessel growth improving blood flow

Stem cell therapy may help patients suffering with DDD that; are not responding adequately to standard drug treatment, cannot tolerate their current recommended treatment, are newly diagnosed, would like to try stem cell therapy before initiating drug treatment, or would like to avoid the risk, pain, and lengthy recovery of surgery.

When stem cells are injected in to the degenerated disc, the cells help stimulate the disc to repair itself.

In a trial of 100 patients, 70% of patients experienced a 50% reduction in back pain after 1 year.

Mesenchymal stem cells have been shown to regulate the immune system response, inhibit inflammation, and repair tissue.

What is the treatment protocol for DDD at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute?

The Stem Cells Transplant Institute uses autologous mesenchymal stem cells or umbilical cord stem cells for the treatment of degenerative disc disease.

Treatment includes:

  1. 1cc vial of mesenchymal stem cells
  2. Antioxidant therapy with vitamin C and glutathione
  3. Ozone therapy
  4. Platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP)

Rejection is not an issue for either umbilical cord stem cells or autologous adipose or bone marrow derived stem cells

Both types of stem cells have anti-inflammatory activity, immune modulating capabilities and can stimulate cell regeneration. You and your physician can decide on the best treatment option based on your age, symptoms, and treatment expectations.

What are the advantages of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells?

  • Abundant supply containing up to 10 times more stem cells than bone marrow or adipose derived stem cells
  • hUC-MSC have immunosuppressors and immunomodulatory properties that allow their use in any individual without rejection- Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) matching is not necessary
  • Greater proliferation ability than adult autologous stem cells
  • They regenerate at a very rapid rate
  • They have not been impacted by the aging process
  • They have not been affected by environmental toxins
  • Umbilical cord stem cells can be administered multiple times over the course of days
  • Eliminates the need to collect stem cells from the patient’s fat or hip bone reducing pain and recovery time

How are the stem cells collected?

Umbilical cord stem cells

We use only umbilical cord stem cells that are derived exclusively from umbilical cord donations. 

The umbilical cord stem cells from are collected after informed consent has been given by the parent, or parents, and only after the delivery of the baby.

The collection follows strict ethical protocols ensuring the stem cells are from safe, reliable sources using a non-invasive, simple and painless procedure. Once collected, the cord blood is then screened for disease.

Autologous adipose and bone marrow stem cells

On the day of the procedure, under local anesthesia and sterile conditions, a small sample of bone marrow is removed from the hip and a small of amount of adipose tissue (fat) is removed from the abdomen.

How are the stem cells administered?

Stem cells are administered directly into the affected disc or areas surrounding the injured disc

About the Stem Cells Transplant Institute

Costa Rica has one of the best healthcare systems in world and is ranked among the highest for medical tourism.

Using the most advanced technologies, the team of experts at The Stem Cells Transplant Institute believes in the potential of stem cell therapy for the treatment of degenerative disc disease.

We are committed to providing personalized service and the highest quality of care to every patient.