Friday, November 20, 2009
Medical Reports: Regrowing Spines
About 80 percent of Americans will experience low back pain at some point in their lives. Many times the cause is torn or ruptured discs. Now, a new option on the horizon could re-grow healthy discs in the spine. Seven's Diana Diaz has more in today's healthcast.
WSVN -- Rebecca Tirs spends most days curled up in bed with her faithful pal Jenny-bee.
Rebecca Tirs: "She just stays by my side all the time."
Ten years ago, she was in a roll-over car accident that changed her life forever.
Rebecca Tirs: "I had a mild traumatic brain injury. I had a fractured pelvis. I had fractured scapula, fractured ribs."
To make matters worse she also tore two discs in her lower back.
Rebecca Tirs: "It was just constant, deep down to the bone, severe pain."
Now Rebecca can barely walk. She had to quit work and give up all her favorite activities.
Rebecca Tirs: "I cried all the time."
Dr. Michael Depalma is hoping to help. He's taking part in a clinical trial where they are actually trying to help the body repair itself by injecting growth factors into damaged discs.
Dr. Michael DePalma: "They stimulate growth of certain tissue."
In animals, the shot helped damaged discs grow back. Doctors say in humans it could mean no surgery, no damage to surrounding tissue and a quicker recovery.
Dr. Michael DePalma: "This sort of treatment may find its role in treating the disc before they get to a point beyond, which only surgery is going to help."
Because she's in a study Rebecca doesn't know if she got a placebo or the real injection, but says she's in a little less pain than normal.
Rebecca Tirs: "Instead of maybe an eight or a nine, I was a seven."
She says every little bit helps. If it gets her one step closer to her old self.
Diana Diaz: "Researchers are still working to see if one injection is enough to ease the pain."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Michael DePalma, MD