Has anyone tried stem cell therapy for herniated disc?

I have had a L5/S1 disc herniation for 5 years. After about 3 years of constant PT, it started to feel better, but then I decided to take a long car trip which re-herniated the disc and now I'm back to square one.

I recently learned that some clinics offer stem cell therapy for herniated discs, where they inject stem cells directly into the disc to promote faster healing. All the doctors I've previously talked to told me that the only options were (1) PT, (2) injections or (3) surgery.

Has anyone tried the stem cell treatment and found benefit? The downside is its really expensive and not covered by insurance.



  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,555

    Welcome fc33 to the forum!!

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  • Hi fc33,

    What is exactly that you are suffering? back pain? leg pain? numbness? which nerve root was damaged?

    Never heard about stem cell injections. quick google "stem cell injections disc" first result

    They can be inserted (via injection) into a damaged disc to help promote healing.

    Stem cells can regenerate the formation of fibrous connective tissue (eg, ligaments) making them ideal for helping to repair soft tissue damage caused by degenerative disc disease.

    AFAIK there isn't even one case in medical history that showed DDD healing (i.e becoming white/hydrated from black/dehydrated in an MRI scan)

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  • The pain is concentrated in the lower back and left hamstring. Its tolerable when I stand or lie down, and gets much worse when sitting. I haven't been able to sit properly for 5 years. Its my L5-S1 disc, which shows a 7mm herniation on the MRI.

    I went to a stem cell clinic and the doctor told me he wouldn't recommend injecting stem cells into the disc, since that could push more of the disc out of place (to make room for the stem cells). He recommended injections, which I am considering.

    I am reluctant to do the injections because I am told there is a small risk of paralysis, if the needle punctures a blood vessel or something next to the spine. The risk is quite small I am told, but still I would rather be in pain for the rest of my life than be paralyzed.

    For those of you who have done injections, what are your thoughts about this?

  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,555


    I feel like the reward is worth such a small risk. I have had injections several times, some worked and some did not. But being out of pain, even for a few months, was worth it.

  • I have had several injections over the years and never had any problems from them, all of them have been guided injection, in other words done under a fluoroscope so the doctor can see exactly what he or she is doing.

    My opinion is that there are risk in anything you do, every time you sit in a car there is a risk, it's all about what you are willing to accept.


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