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Herniated Disk Disease

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Herniated Disk Disease

While the symptoms of Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis both include cartilage loss, these conditions have several distinct differences.


Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that results in the thickening and inflammation of the affected joint. Chronic inflammation causes the cartilage loss that defines arthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis only accounts for about 15 percent of all diagnosed arthritis cases.


Osteoarthritis, by far, accounts for the vast majority of arthritis diagnosis, and this progressive condition can affect anyone. In fact, if you are over 50, it’s highly likely your joints are developing symptoms of Osteoarthritis, even if you don’t feel any symptoms yet.


Osteoarthritis may be caused either by injury or simple wear and tear over time. As we use our joints, the cartilage that cushions our joints is worn down, causing our bones to scrape and rub. As more cartilage is worn away, it may be replaced by bone spurs or irregular cartilage growth. Both of these developments can lead to significant pain.

What is a herniated disc?

Individual spinal vertebrae join together to form the spinal column, which protects the spinal cord. Each vertebra is separated by a fibrocartilaginous disc that serves as a cushion and shock absorber for the spine. These discs allow the spine to twist and flex while keeping individual vertebrae from twisting, scraping together or locking up.


Picture a jelly donut. The outer layer is a fibrous ring, the annulus, which is similar to Kevlar. Inside the disc is a fibrous jelly-like substance, the pulposus. Over time, the annulus (outer layer) may be damaged, either by wear and tear or injury. When the tear in the annulus is large enough, some of the pulposus pushes through the outer wall. This protrusion – herniation – can press against spinal nerves, causing significant pain.

How do disc herniations form?

Herniated discs can form due to traumatic injury or wear and tear over time. When small tears appear in discs, the resulting scar tissue can weaken the outer wall of the disc, leading to more and larger tears. This is why the risk of developing herniated discs increases as we age.


Herniated disc symptoms can vary, depending on the location and severity of the disc rupture. Sometimes, there are no noticeable symptoms until the herniation results in additional injury. In fact, 28 percent of people over 40 already have a bulging disc.


Because symptoms of herniated disc disease can occur at any point along the spine and can also present as pain, numbness or weakness in the neck, shoulders, arms, buttocks and legs, patients may mistake disc herniation for a “sore back” or a “stiff neck.”

Symptoms of herniated discs include:

● Chronic or intermittent back pain
● Radiating pain in the arms, shoulders, neck, buttocks or legs
● Sharp pain or aches in the shoulder blades or neck
● Neck spasms
● Numbness, tingling or weakness in the back and limbs

Diagnosing and treating a herniated disc

To diagnose a herniated disc, Dr. Skaliy will conduct a physical examination to look for symptoms and test which areas may be affected. Imaging tests, such as X-rays, a CT scan or an MRI may also be necessary to make a proper diagnosis.


Treatment protocols will depend on the location and severity of the herniation. Smaller herniations can benefit from physical therapy, medication and rest. This conservative approach may relieve the pain, but it will not heal the actual herniation, meaning the injury could increase over time.


If the conservative approach is not effective, epidural steroid injections may be suggested. While successful in reducing pain, epidural steroids will not correct the underlying medical issue.


To truly heal a herniated disc, you must repair the annulus and rehydrate the pulposus. Dr. Skaliy currently offers two treatment protocols that have proven to not only relieve pain, but also repair damaged cells in the disc.

A Better Minimally-Invasive Treatments For Sciatica


Stem Cell Therapy has been used to treat at least 65 different medical issues, including chronic pain in the back, neck and joints. WIth physicians reporting up to 90 percent success rates, stem cell treatment has proven to be very effective in reducing and eliminating pain. Plus, since it comes with none of the potential side-effects of surgery, Stem Cell Therapy is also very safe… 

(Read more)


PRP uses concentrated blood platelets, taken directly from the patient, to activate and enhance the body’s own regenerative capabilities. PRP is injected directly into the area causing the pain, going to work immediately to offer long-term pain relief… 

(Read more)


The Effectiveness of Stem Cells in Treating Pain

Regenerative medicine is a new area of medicine that uses stem cells to regenerate tissue and “turn the clock back” to a more active and fulfilling life.  We specialize in orthopedic regenerative medicine which has a long history of success scientific studies show the benefit and success of stem cell therapy for joints and back.  We practice the safest and most advanced techniques to bring relief to or patients. Our success rate is very high.

Adult stem cells possess several different qualities which allow them to be effective in the treatment of damaged joints. When used to treat pain caused by damaged joints, stem cells:

● Differentiate between and grow into bone, cartilage, tendons, and ligament cells

● Offer anti-inflammatory effects, which reduces further injury

● Recruit other cells necessary to increase cell growth in joints

● Inhibit cell death (apoptosis)

● Enrich blood supply, leading to more healthy tissue regeneration

Specifically, adipose stem cells are effective in treating Osteoarthritis; and bone marrow stem cells have beneficial in Rotator Cuff repair, treating Avascular Necrosis (AVN) in the hip, and assisting with bone union.

The success of these attributes depends on several different factors including disease severity, the type of stem cell used, the procedure chosen, and other factors specific to the patient. But, overall, up to 90 percent of our patients who elect stem cell therapy experience significant, long-term pain relief.

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