The number one cause of chronic pain and excessive medical expenses

Dr. Brian Petrie

What’s the number one cause of chronic pain and excessive medical expenses in the United States today?  Arthritis?  Nope.  Obesity?  Wrong again.  It’s spinal ligament injuries.  Shocking right?  As a matter of fact, spinal ligament injuries in the low back are the number one cause of pain and disability in the world today. Ligament injuries in the neck are the 3rd leading cause of pain and disability in the world.

How do these injuries occur?  Any time a ligament has been stretched beyond its normal elastic limits (anything greater than a grade one sprain such as a grade two or three) the ligament is unable to return to its original length and therefore is unable to handle the natural load it is intended to bear, nor it is able to effectively handle the stress and strain that activities of daily living cause it, not to mention any athletic endeavors.  What can cause this?  The most common cause of this can be from trauma such as accidents, whiplash, slip and falls, or sport-related injuries. These slack ligaments can also be caused by certain types of autoimmune conditions that weaken the ligaments.
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Medscape, the largest online medical resource provides common symptomatic complaints associated with these injuries. Many of these symptoms may seem totally unrelated to your injury.
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So, what’s the solution?  The first step is getting an accurate diagnosis, and while it may seem natural that an MRI should be able to detect an injury like this, an MRI is not sufficient to the task of diagnosing the problem.  Further testing is needed.  Spine stress x-rays are necessary.  These are exactly what they sound like.  The spine is put into natural stress positions, and an x-ray is taken to access for excessive motion.

These x-rays must then be sent to a board-certified medical radiologist who then performs an analysis called a Computerized Radiographic Measurement Analysis, or CRMA, to determine if there are areas of excessive spinal motion which as a result of these damaged ligaments. There are several companies across the U.S.  that perform these procedures, however, we use a company called Spinal Kinetics because of their quality control measures and standards for excellence.

Ok.  You’ve been diagnosed, but what are your treatment options?

Restoring normal biomechanical motion utilizing rehabilitative procedures including spinal manipulative therapy often performed by board-certified licensed chiropractors to get the best possible outcome is the first course of care. However, just like a chronic severe ankle sprain that is still weak and tender years later, the spinal ligaments are no different and the reason why they are the number one and 3rd cause for chronic pain and disability.

A common medical choice many people take for this chronic pain is the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDs or cortisone injections. Although these procedures are capable of temporally lessening the pain, they cannot address the problem and often lead to a whole host of other disorders such as advancing the degeneration of the spine.

We have found that incorporating the use  of Regenerative Medicine procedures in conjunction with spinal manipulation and rehabilitative exercise to be the best treatment options effective at doing exactly what the term ‘regenerative medicine’ implies.  Through the use of treatments such as allograph injections containing  stem cells, it is now possible to actually repair the damaged overstretched weak ligaments and restore their lost ability to maintain the spine in alignment while it is under load. All of this can occur without the need for long term pain medication and having to live a life of disability.
(Link to more information)

So what’s the point of all this?

Number One:  if you’re experiencing chronic pain, impairment in your ability to function due to a spinal injury, such as whiplash from a car accident, sports injury or slip and fall, you are most definitely not alone.

Number Two:  the problem isn’t just some nebulous issue that you’re dealing with and it will go away on its own. The true root of the problem can actually be diagnosed, and diagnosis is the first step towards finding a true solution to the problem.

Number Three:  regenerative medicine may actually have the solution you’ve been needing or perhaps even searching for.

I am a member of the SmartInjury™ network who’s primary mission is simple: To help eradicate the misinformation, misdiagnosis, and the dismal treatment results of the most common and most expensive injury in the market today – the spinal ligament injury.

For more information regarding this topic, don’t hesitate to contact our office at 774-409-5055 or visit us at www.StemCellTherapyInMA.com

Dr. Brian R. Petrie

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