Atlantic Spine Center Announces Introduction of Stem Cell Treatment for Degenerative Disc Disease

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Dr. Kaliq Chang Offers Minimally-invasive Option for Back Pain

Dr. Kaliq Chang

Adult stem cells have been used successfully for more than twenty years to treat hips, knees and shoulders. More recently, studies have shown effectiveness in relieving back pain caused by degenerated discs.

The Atlantic Spine Center, a nationally recognized leader in innovative and minimally invasive spine care, has announced the availability of treatment for degenerative disc disease with adult stem cells. “Adult stem cells have been used successfully for more than twenty years to treat hips, knees and shoulders,” says Dr. Kaliq Chang, pain management specialist at the Atlantic Spine Center. “More recently, studies have shown effectiveness in relieving back pain caused by degenerated discs. We are pleased to be able to offer this treatment to our patients as an alternative to spine surgery.”

Degenerative disc disease, one of the most common causes of low back pain, is also known as spinal disc degeneration. It refers to changes in the spinal discs caused by aging, injury or wear and tear that impair the discs' ability to function properly. Healthy discs act as cushions between the spinal vertebrae, absorbing the stresses on the spine. When the discs lose fluid, height and flexibility, the vertebrae rub against each other causing pain and stiffness and as the discs continue to degenerate, conditions such as bone spurs, herniated discs and spinal stenosis may result.

“Degenerative disc disease has traditionally first been treated conservatively,” says Dr. Change, “with anti-inflammatory medication, activity modification, injections and physical therapy. If those measures are not effective, surgery is an option but isn't feasible for all patients. All these treatments are designed to relieve pain but none can regenerate the disc tissue and restore the disc's height and integrity. Using adult stem cells, we have the opportunity to significantly improve the disc with a fast, minimally invasive procedure.”

Adult stem cells act as a repair system by dividing and replenishing other cells that have died or been damaged. The cells that are used to treat spinal discs are mesenchymal stem cells, a type of cell found in all the blood vessels but particularly concentrated in the bone marrow. Mesenchymal stem cells give rise to cartilage, bone, muscle and fat, depending on the environment surrounding the cell. They also reduce inflammation and prevent cell death. These cells are the primary means by which our bodies naturally heal throughout our lives. “In treating damaged discs,” says Dr. Chang, “we harvest the mesenchymal stem cells from bone marrow in the patient's hip and re-inject the cells into the disc. Patients go home the same day and most are back on their feet within a week.”

“Treating degenerative disc disease with the patient's own stem cells takes advantage of the body's natural ability to heal itself,” Dr. Chang concludes. “It is a very promising therapy that provides pain relief with no reported long-term adverse effects and it may also reverse the effects of aging and wear and tear. We believe adult stem cells will become the gold standard in treating disc degeneration.”

Adult stem cell treatment for degenerative disc disease is available today at Atlantic Spine Center.

Atlantic Spine Center is a nationally recognized leader for endoscopic spine surgery with several locations in NJ and NYC.,

Kaliq Chang, MD, is an interventional pain management specialist board-certified in anesthesiology at Atlantic Spine Center.

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Melissa Chefec
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