Experts estimate that as much as 80% of the population is bound to experience back problems at some point in their lives, but thanks to new technology, more treatments are available to those suffering from chronic pain.
The FDA recently approved the latest artificial lumbar discs, and those patients who have received the implants have seen dramatic and positive changes.
Orthopedic spine surgeon Dr. Rolando Garcia is a developer of the activ-l-artificial lumbar disc.
The implant is made of chromium endplates that attach to the patient’s vertebrae. The disc is the first to also use polyethylene, or plastic plates, to allow for a better fit.
“We’re talking about a new generation implant that tries to better mimic or reproduce the movement of the spine when it’s normal,” said Garcia.
Jorge Padron, one of the recipients, said the results were life changing. To those watching him work out, it’s difficult to believe the active man has ever suffered from a back problem. However, Padron knows differently.
“When I would walk even a little hard, the pain was just unbearable,” he said of his back issues.
Padron was suffering from a degenerative disc. Ordinarily, the treatment would have been fusing his spine.
However, while it would have corrected the error, it would have impaired his mobility and quality of life.
“I just thought to myself there’s got to be a better solution than fusion,” Padron said.
Fortunately, there was. But that’s not the only new technology aiding back pain patients.
University of Kentucky researcher Tom Hedman has pioneered a new injectable liquid called Rejuve, which has shown promising results in early clinical trials.
The product, which is the focus of Hedman’s research, is an injectable device that will mechanically strengthen the spinal disc and stabilize the spinal joint.
If it succeeds throughout later clinical trials, it could mean a world of difference to those patients suffering from low-back pain.
“This treatment addresses the core deficiencies that contribute to low back pain, rather than just temporarily masking the pain like existing approaches,” said Hedman.
In addition, the length and cost of the procedure are considerably less than those of other older or even up and coming treatments.
In both cases, recovery time is minimal, and results are nearly immediate. The simplicity and innovation behind these two procedures could change the way back pain is treated, and even cure it in countless patients.
“No pain, full range of motion, running, jumping, hand standing, lifting like if nothing ever happened,” Padron beamed.