Treating Spine Conditions with Stem Cells

For patients with various spine-related conditions, especially degenerative conditions involving disc and tissue damage, surgery has traditionally been the only option if pain is no longer controlled by more conservative treatments like medication and various forms of physical therapy. Advances in stem cell research, however, could present an alternative to traditional spine surgery.

How It Works

The following outlines how the stem cell regeneration process works in regards to reversing damage caused by degenerative spine conditions:

  • Stem cells are injected into the affected area of the spine.
  • The stem cells regenerate naturally and replace nerve cells that have died from an injury to the spine or cells that have been damaged due to degeneration of tissues.
  • The new cells reform the insulating part of the nerve, acting as a bridge across the damaged areas to stimulate regrowth.
  • Stem cells are thought to absorb toxins such as free radicals to prevent further damage to the spine once the damaged cells have been replaced.
  • Stem cells also prevent the spread of further pain by suppressing inflammation that often occurs with damage to the spine.

Note: This is an especially important benefit since it’s the inflammation that often causes pain associated with most common spine conditions.


The majority of tests involving stem cells for spine conditions have produced mixed results, with many patients reporting partial recovery that usually includes some reduction in pain. However, different types of stem cells are being tested and modified by trusted Santa Monica spine surgeons in efforts to improve results.

It should be noted that there are other sources of stem cells other than from embryos, which has generated much-publicized controversy, including stem cells from brain tissue, the lining of the nasal cavity and tooth pulp. One technique that’s being tested that has showed some promise is the use of stem cells from a patient’s own skin to create so-called “neutral cells” that can be used to repair damaged tissues within the spine.

Interested in Learning More?

If you are living with back or neck pain or have been diagnosed with a degenerative spine treatment and are interested in finding out more about stem cell treatments, reach out to Dr. Hyun Bae of The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. Dr. Bae is on the cutting-edge of spinal treatments and is a leading researcher in stem cell repair of degenerative disc disease and the use of growth factors to treat spinal cord injury. Reach out to him today at 310-828-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation or to request more information.