What is another option instead of facet joint injections which have been stopped in most areas in the UK. Some postcodes are still receiving these injections but the majority have been axed by the NHS. The reason they say is not just because of the cost but also because they do not give pain relief for long enough and so are not cost effective.
As my readers know I had regular facet joint injections (every four months) and found them a great help to my low back pain. Since they stopped them I have had two sessions (four months apart) of steroid injections into trigger points but they have been no help whatsoever so these will also be stopped.
I have looked into other types of pain-relieving injections for lower back pain and mainly come up with epidurals as another option. This is not something I have been offered but I have also read only recently that these can actually only give short-term relief of pain similar to facet joint injections. So what is another option instead of these injections for people in chronic pain. Well, according to an article on the Manchester NHS site a new stem cell therapy is an option for this type of pain.
“A team of medical experts from Central Manchester and Manchester Children’s University Hospitals NHS Trust (CMMC) and the University of Manchester are pioneering a new procedure capable of repairing worn out intervertebral disks – the back’s shock absorbers – with a single injection. The process uses a ‘smart’ gel, which contains stem cells taken from a patient’s bone marrow. When injected into the sufferer, the gel allows new tissue to be generated.”
Stem Cell Thailand say that the ONLY proven effective alternative to back surgery is disk regeneration using enhanced stem cells. The Regeneration center of Thailand offers the most advanced treatment for sports related injuries and Chronic Degenerative Disc Disease. Their stem cell injections for back pain is much safer than invasive surgical procedure and seeks to treat the actual cause of the disease and reverse the condition through a targeted multi-step treatment to regenerate the damaged discs to their normal, healthy state.(Sivakamasundari and Lufkin 2013)*
The Regenerative Clinic in Harley Street London use this treatment and say stem cell therapy and PRP can help patients avoid spinal surgery and the side effects of epidural steroid injections. These procedures utilise the patient’s own natural growth factors or stem cells to treat bulging or herniated discs, degenerative conditions in the spine, and other back and neck conditions that cause pain.
According to Back Pain Expert Researchers at Manchester University’s Division of Regenerative Medicine are still currently running clinical trials in people with back pain to test a revolutionary treatment that could repair damaged intervertebral discs. The revolutionary new treatment based on stem cells, pioneered by Dr Stephen Richardson at Manchester University, may turn out to offer a permanent cure for back pain related to damaged intervertebral discs. For over five years, and backed with funding from the Arthritis Research Campaign, he and his colleagues at the Division of Regenerative Medicine have been developing a way of using cells from the body to regenerate the nucleus polposus in the damaged intervertebral discs.
However, unfortunately, it doesn’t look like this type of treatment to replace facet joint injections is not going to be available on the NHS in the near future.