Updated: Mar 4
Millions of people around the world suffer from chronic back pain. Back pain is so prevalent that it is now considered the main cause of disability among otherwise healthy individuals. This reality led a group of researchers from Japan and the U.S. to look at the potential for platelet-rich plasma PRP therapy to help treat chronic back pain and, more specifically, lower back pain.
The good news for lower back pain sufferers is that PRP therapy does seem to help. Researchers say that not only should treatments for lower back pain be a priority moving forward, but also that PRP therapy should be among those treatments being looked at more aggressively. They believe PRP therapy could play a key role in finally alleviating chronic back pain for many people.
How the Study Was Conducted
Researchers began their study by assessing raw data relating to general back pain and lower back pain. The data showed that roughly 12% of the world population reported some level of lower back pain during 2012, where 23% reported suffering back pain within the same month they were interviewed. Some 37% of adolescents taking part in a WHO survey also reported lower back pain symptoms. Finally, a 2015 survey suggested that 7.3% of the world’s population suffered from lower back pain significant enough to limit their activities.
With those numbers in hand, the researchers began looking at a combination of epidemiological studies and research being done in laboratory mice. They discovered multiple instances of patients reporting positive effects after having been treated with PRP therapy. They noted animal studies which seem to show the effectiveness of PRP in helping to regenerate lost tissue. The researchers even cited one double-blind randomized trial that proved PRP was both safe and effective for reducing chronic back pain.
When they put all the research together, they come to the undeniable conclusion that PRP therapy has shown itself effective for lower back pain. For the researchers, the evidence they uncovered was enough to persuade them that it’s time for extensive clinical trials into the feasibility of PRP as a chronic pain treatment.
What It All Means
If you’re a clinician considering being trained to offer PRP and stem cell therapies in your own practice, you are more than welcome to read the entire study. Doing so will give you a better understanding of the research than we could provide in a blog post. Perhaps the study will present the evidence you need to help you make your own decision about stem cell and PRP therapies.
If you are a patient, the take-away for you is that there are alternatives to surgery and pain medications. No one but you and your doctor can determine if PRP therapy is appropriate for your condition, but we do know that clinics from coast-to-coast are using PRP therapy to successfully treat the chronic pain of osteoarthritis and sports injuries.
Our business at Apex Biologix is furnishing doctors and clinics with centrifuges, PRP kits, and the other supplies they need to offer a limited selection of regenerative medicine services. We speak with doctors on a regular basis who tell us of the success they’ve had with their patients. Though the evidence they offer is anecdotal, it is still evidence, nonetheless.
To the millions of people who suffer from chronic back pain, news that minimally invasive PRP therapy could help ease their pain is good news. Perhaps one day regenerative medicine will completely eliminate the need for back surgery and long-term pain medication. Until that day comes, patients need to be made aware that they do have regenerative medicine options.