Your spine is made up of 33 vertebrae. These separate bones stack on top of each other to form your spinal column, and in between each vertebra is a softer disc that allows the bones to shift and move. These discs cushion your spinal bones and absorb shock during everyday activities. Each disc consists of a tough outer ring and a softer inner core. Problems with these discs can cause serious back pain and other complications. The spinal specialists at Marin Orthopedics & Sports Medicine are experts in diagnosing and treating problems with the spinal discs from our office in Novato, CA.
Spinal Discs Problems
As we age, spinal discs — especially lumbar (lower back) discs — can become less flexible or deteriorate over time. Injuries, aging, and other conditions can all cause problems with the spinal discs. A few of the issues that commonly affect the spine and lower back include the following:
- Herniated (slipped) disc. In some cases, the gel-like core of a disc can start to spread or break through the outer disc. If this gel starts to touch nerves around the spine, it can cause serious back pain and other problems.
- Sciatica. When a slipped disc affects the nerves that connect to your sciatic nerve, pain can radiate down into the buttocks and legs.
- Disc degeneration. As we age, discs can start getting smaller or deteriorating, which can lead to breaks or tears within the discs. If deterioration occurs, there is less cushion between the vertebrae, and lack of the proper cushioning can lead to bone spurs (growths of excess bone) and other issues.
Sometimes the natural aging process can lead to spinal disc problems, but people with physically demanding jobs are often at higher risk for disc problems and repetitive motion injuries. The best way to find out the cause of your back pain is to have a consultation with a spinal expert, like Dr. Holly Kelly and the other specialists at our office in Novato, CA.
PRP Treatments for Disc-Related Pain
Platelet-rich plasma, also known as PRP, is a revolutionary new treatment option that helps relieve pain and promote healing. More and more athletes and other individuals are using PRP to speed up the healing process and return to their regular routines more quickly. PRP is a minimally invasive way to help promote healing in the tissues of your body.
What is PRP? Platelet-rich plasma is blood plasma (the liquid part of your blood) with a high concentration of platelets. Platelets are naturally found in your bloodstream, and when an injury occurs, the platelets surround the damaged tissue to promote healing. PRP uses the natural regenerative properties of platelets to promote healing in areas that need regeneration.
Where does PRP come from? In the past, PRP was expensive and difficult to make, but today your doctor can make PRP using a small blood sample and a centrifuge machine. The centrifuge separates the platelets from the rest of the blood in as little as 20 minutes, concentrating your platelets and growth factors. This concentrated mix of growth factors can help your body heal itself more quickly and efficiently.
How does PRP treatment work for back pain? Your doctor will administer the PRP via injection, getting the healing factors as close to the injured area or disc as possible. At Marin Orthopedics, our spinal specialists use fluoroscopy, which is a live X-ray machine, to get a better view of your back during the procedure. This allows your doctor to place any treatments as precisely as possible.
Intradiscal Care in Marin County
If you are suffering from lower back pain, leg pain, or even pain in your upper back and arms, you may be dealing with a disc problem. Your doctor will review all your treatment options during your consultation appointment to help you find a solution that works for you. Our spinal specialists have years of experience diagnosing and treating a wide variety of spinal problems. To schedule an appointment with one of our spinal specialists, give our office in Novato, CA, a call. One of our staff members will be happy to help you.