Back and Neck Pain Treatment in Ireland and UK
Brief anatomy of the spine
The spine, which is also called the backbone or spinal column, is one of the strongest parts of the body and gives us a great deal of flexibility and strength.
It’s made up of 24 bones, known as vertebrae, one sitting on top of the other. These bones have discs in between and lots of strong ligaments and muscles around them for support. There are also the bones in the tailbone at the bottom of the back, which are fused together and have no discs in between.
The spinal cord passes inside the vertebrae, which protect it. The spinal cord connects to the brain through the base of the skull and to the rest of the body by nerves that pass through spaces between the bones of the spine. These nerves are also known as nerve roots.
As you grow older, the structures of your spine, such as the joints, discs and ligaments, age as well. The structures remain strong but it’s usual for your back to get stiffer as you get older.
Back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work, and it is a leading cause of disability worldwide.
Back pain can range from a mild, dull, annoying ache, to persistent, severe, disabling pain. Back pain can range from a muscle aching to a shooting, burning or stabbing sensation. In addition, the pain may radiate down your leg or worsen with bending, twisting, lifting, standing or walking.
Pain in your back can restrict mobility and interfere with normal functioning and quality of life.
What are the most common causes of Back pain?
Conditions commonly linked to back pain include:
- Muscle or ligament strain. Repeated heavy lifting or a sudden awkward movement can strain back muscles and spinal ligaments. If you’re in poor physical condition, constant strain on your back can cause painful muscle spasms.
- Bulging or ruptured disks. Disks act as cushions between the bones (vertebrae) in your spine. The soft material inside a disk can bulge or rupture and press on a nerve. However, you can have a bulging or ruptured disk without back pain. Disk disease is often found incidentally when you have spine X-rays for some other reason.
- Arthritis. Osteoarthritis can affect the lower back. In some cases, arthritis in the spine can lead to a narrowing of the space around the spinal cord, a condition called spinal stenosis.
- Osteoporosis. Your spine’s vertebrae can develop painful fractures if your bones become porous and brittle.
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction. The sacroiliac joint connects the hip bones (the ilia) to the sacrum, a triangular bone at the base of the spine. When the sacroiliac joint experiences too much or too little motion, it may cause pain in the hips, pelvis, and lower back.
- Spinal stenosis. Narrowing of the spinal canal due to a bone spur, herniated disc, or another irritant can cause leg pain (sciatica). While back pain may occur with spinal stenosis, it is usually not as severe as the leg pain caused by nerve root irritation. Spinal stenosis is more common in adults over age 60.
Piriformis syndrome. Is a painful condition that develops due to irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve near the piriformis muscle. The piriformis muscle connects the lowermost vertebrae with the upper part of the leg after traveling the “sciatic notch,” the opening in the pelvic bone that allows the sciatic nerve to travel into the leg. Here, the muscle and nerve are adjacent and this proximity is why trouble can develop.
What are the Risk Factors for Back pain?
Anyone can develop back pain, even children and teens. These factors might put you at greater risk of developing back pain:
- Age. Back pain is more common as you get older, starting around age 30 or 40.
- Lack of exercise. Weak, unused muscles in your back and abdomen might lead to back pain.
- Excess weight. Excess body weight puts extra stress on your back.
- Diseases. Some types of arthritis and cancer can contribute to back pain.
- Improper lifting. Using your back instead of your legs can lead to back pain.
- Psychological conditions. People prone to depression and anxiety appear to have a greater risk of back pain.
- Smoking. Smokers have increased rates of back pain. This may occur because smoking prompts more coughing, which can lead to herniated disks. Smoking can also decrease blood flow to the spine and increase the risk of osteoporosis.
Neck pain is the worst kind of overachiever. Neck pain occurs in the area of the cervical vertebrae in your neck. Because of its location and range of motion, your neck is often left unprotected and subject to injury. And it’s not always centralized in the neck. It can radiate across your whole upper body, affecting your shoulders, arms and chest and can even cause headaches. Living with neck pain can be miserable, making it hard to focus and get through the day.
Neck pain can be debilitating and may interfere with day-to-day life, including your ability to sleep, feel productive, and enjoy time with friends and family. And it affects more than just your physical body. Studies have shown that chronic pain can have an impact on a person’s mental health; up to 85 percent of patients with chronic pain are affected by severe depression.
What are the most common causes of Neck pain?
Your neck is flexible and supports the weight of your head, so it can be vulnerable to injuries and conditions that cause pain and restrict motion. Neck pain causes include:
- Muscle strains. Overuse, such as too many hours hunched over your computer or smartphone, often triggers muscle strains. Even minor things, such as reading in bed or gritting your teeth, can strain neck muscles.
- Worn joints. Just like the other joints in your body, your neck joints tend to wear down with age. Osteoarthritis causes the cushions (cartilage) between your bones (vertebrae) to deteriorate. Your body then forms bone spurs that affect joint motion and cause pain.
- Nerve compression. Herniated disks or bone spurs in the vertebrae of your neck can press on the nerves branching out from the spinal cord.
- Injuries. Rear-end auto collisions often result in whiplash injury, which occurs when the head is jerked backward and then forward, straining the soft tissues of the neck.
- Shoulder Injury. When the rotator cuff becomes damaged, it causes the body to compensate and use other muscle groups in the shoulder to lift, push or pull objects. This compensation can strain the muscles and result in pain in the area from the top of the shoulder into the neck.
- Diseases. Certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis or cancer, can cause neck pain.
So…How can we help you?
At Regenecare we aim to improve the quality of life of our patients, freeing them from the pain that afflicts them and preventing future complications. We base our treatments on Regenerative Medicine, but we also carry out the rest of the conventional treatments according to the needs of each of our patients for the management of their pain. We have developed a comprehensive method of care for our patients, based on wellness goals, with close monitoring and always seeing the patient as a whole and not just as a disease.
Regenerative therapy is an alternative treatment option for patients with back and neck pain. Minimally invasive procedures like stem cell and platelet-rich plasma therapies involve an outpatient procedure performed under local anesthesia in our clinic, using the patient’s own adult stem cells or patients own blood to help the back and neck to heal.
Stem cells are found throughout the body and have the potential to develop into any type of cell, including those found in cartilage. They can help the body to regenerate tissues by stimulating healing and reducing painful effects. In the case of Bulging or ruptured spinal disc, regeneration of nerve involvement and pain relief have been seen. Additionally, researchers believe that adult stem cells can repair and replace cartilage and other tissues damaged by arthritis. In the same way, this treatment prolongs the longevity of the joint.
Using radiological techniques, we inject around the disc injury promoting disc and nerve regeneration
The PRP technique consists of extracting blood, we process the sample, separate the plasma and platelets and inject them around the area of the injury
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
The human blood contains red and white bloods cells, platelets and plasma. PRP refers to blood plasma that contains a large concentration of platelets. Platelets contain the necessary bioactive proteins and growth factors to repair and regenerate human tissue. PRP injections produce regeneration and repair of damaged tissues. At Regenecare Pain Management Clinic we obtain great results of pain relief and improvement of function with our PRP protocol.
Steroid injections generally help relieve pain and swelling and make movement easier. Steroids are powerful anti-inflammatories that, when injected directly into the pain site, greatly reduce inflammation and thus pain. In the case of the Back and Neck, the steroid is injected directly into the painful area. The benefits can last for several months and the side effects are minimal with proper administration.
Steroid Injection under ultrasound guidance
Ozone generating machine
Ozone therapy is especially effective in diseases of the vertebral area, especially in herniated discs. Ozone acts improving the oxygen supply in the affected area and getting rid of pain and inflammation since it neutralizes and inhibits the production of neurotoxic substances and modulates the immune response. Ozone also dries the part of the disc that protrudes, which leads to its reduction or even disappearance.
A physical therapist will teach you exercises to increase your flexibility, strengthen your back and abdominal muscles, and improve your posture. Regular use of these techniques can help keep pain from returning. Physical therapists will also provide education about how to modify your movements during an episode of back pain to avoid flaring pain symptoms while continuing to be active.
Am I a good candidate for Regenerative Treatments?