There is an opioid epidemic killing the nation. Back pain affects roughly twenty-eight million people in the United States. The stem cell treatment discussed in this article could bring relief millions of people and the best part is that it would not require individuals to take opioids. Unfortunately, opioid overdose has increased about four times since 1999; they account for 33,000 deaths in 2015 alone. A leading cause to overdose is from getting a serious injury that requires the individual injured to rely on opioids. Sometimes these individuals become addicted to the opioids. However, stem cell treatment aims to stop this epidemic.
In this stem cell treatment, stem cells are injected into the damaged discs between the vertebrae of the spine. Each dose or stem cell contains about six million cells called mesenchymal precursor cells. These cells decrease inflammation and secrete factors which help rebuild the damaged tissue in the spine. The stem cells being used for these injections are being tested for treating degenerative disc diseases. The discs between vertebrae act as cushions that absorb the shock from the normal wear and tear of every day life. When these discs wear down and become thinner, they loose their ability to cushion the vertebrae. This then leads individuals to seek relief from opioids. Studies done with stem cell treatment show that one injection of stem cells helped individuals become mobile again and did not experience back pain for two years.