Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A few thoughts on current procedures.

I consider myself pretty literate on the spine. I've read over a thousand articles, forums, posts, testimonials, success and tragic stories, etc... I've also visited a bunch of doctors, all of which have completely different views on the subject. 

In new york, one of the top doctors in the US on the field, Dr. Frank Cammissa, recommended ALEVE and physical therapy. If that didn't work within 6 months, he wanted to cut me open for a micro-discectomy.

In costa rica, a well-known orthopedic surgeon recommended spinal decompression. I tried the DRX-9000 machine, which they had, with absolutely no change in pain levels or even MRI results.

In other countries, they recommended massages. They got rid of a few knots on my upper back. That's it.

Other people recommended that I just pray. Sure, this is a good idea, but I can't JUST pray. I have to pray AND try to do something about the problem and hope it works. (Recommendation for believers in miracles: stop telling people to pray and do nothing about a problem).

I've gotten to the point where I now believe more in myself then what people tell me. It's annoying when I mention my problem and immediately everyone around the room is suddenly an expert on the subject, and they criticize you because you don't want to take their advice. "TRY GARLIC WITH OLIVE OIL", "TRY THIS MASSAGE LADY, SHE DOES MIRACLES", "TRY DR. RETARD, HE CURED THIS ONE GUY THAT HAD NOTHING WRONG", "TRY THIS AND THIS AND THIS, DON'T DO THIS AND THIS AND THIS". Please....

Right now, I believe stem cells can help me. The science is there to help, and I have to take advantage of it as soon as I can. That is what I am doing, and that is where I am placing my money.

If stem cells don't work, I already know my next step: Artificial Disc Replacement. If I never reach the subject, it'll mean that I never had to take this step. 

Btw, as of March 25th, i'm 2 days into my stem-cell re-injection. It seems that I have a couple of muscle spasms in my back (at least that's what I think).. I'm trying to calm them down before they cause any unnecessary pressure on my discs. 


  1. Mike,

    I have just begun to research options to surgery for persistent knee and hip pain. I came across your blog and have been impressed with your posts/progress so far w/ Regenexx.

    I do hope you are still doing well. You haven't posted in a while - is this due to non-stop cavorting or something less fun (If it's cavorting, just wave an upheld martini glass and let us know you are well)?

    Do tell the latest.



  2. Mike, thanks for taking the time to post. I'm curious about the Regenexx procedure for my knee. I hope you will continue to post and keep us up to date.



  3. Hey Mike,

    I am a 24 year old male with degenerative disc disease at L4-L5 and L5-S1. I had a microdiscecotmy for a herniation at L4-L5 in Sept 09 but about 3 weeks ago I herniated the L5-S1 level. I'm very very curious about your progress as I think I am in a very similar situation. This pain can be crippling so I'm looking into all options and stem cells are appealing. I'm also looking into a disc replacement a few years down the line. Please continue to update for people like me who share you pain!


  4. Thank you for tracking my progress Ryan. In a few minutes I will post an update!

    I'm also considering Artificial Disc Replacements in the future. This is, of course, in case my current treatment is unsuccessful. However, I am waiting for the current flurry on new ADR's to settle down. There are many new designs that looks promising! (Freedom Lumbar Disc, M6, etc).

  5. Mike, really impressed with your diligence as well as your intellection in weighing your options. I believe your "think for self per your own individual condition" approach is the only way to go and one I wished we'd see more of.

    The options out there can be intimidating. All we can do is asses our unique condition, research the options and apply what we learn best we can always cognizant of the fact only WE will be the ones living with the results.

    It's no coincidence that those who put in the research realize better results so keep at it and thanks for the contribution!

    Some have successful surgery and never look back. Some have surgeries that yield only minor improvement. And some have failed surgeries and suffer far more than pre-surgery. All scenarios exist out there so trying stem cell and other more conservative approaches is well understood.

    The two options I'm considering are Fibrin Sealant (BioStat System) and ADR. Artificial discs that don't absorb motion vertically are concerning for me. So I'm waiting best I can for the newer designs that cushion spinal loads in a closer fashion to real discs, eg: Freedom, Ranier, M6.. Polymer designs in general.