Chronic Back Pain

Chronic back pain is a broad term that refers to persistent symptoms of inflammation, disc damage and tissue degeneration of the spine’s various components. Pain usually lasts 12 weeks or longer, even after an initial injury or underlying cause of acute low back pain has been treated. Most patients experience back pain as a result of a number of contributing factors and disorders, including:

  • Sacroiliac Dysfunction
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Herniated Discs
  • Spinal Facet Arthritis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Failed Back Syndrome (post-spinal surgery pain) and more

In degenerative back conditions, there are ligaments that fail, forcing the spine chronically out of alignment. Surgery attempts to correct this misalignment by stripping ligaments, shaving disc material, chipping bone spurs and spinal fusions. While surgery can be successful, that isn’t always the case and pain persists. Unsatisfactory healing, destabilization of the levels above and below the operated area, repeat surgeries and failed back surgery syndrome can frequently be the case. Back pain sufferers might turn to prescription medication for pain management in order to regain a degree of normal function. This can result in adverse reactions and long-term side effects, all without addressing the source of the pain.

At Okyanos, our expert physicians use adult stem cell therapy to harness the powerful healing mechanisms of the body. Whether back pain is the result of an injury or a chronic inflammatory disease, stem cell therapy is an effective approach to tackling the underlying causes of spine discomfort for lasting mobility and relief.

What Stem Cells Can Do

Through clinical research we know that system-wide inflammation is more involved in disc disease and back pain than previously understood. Adult stem cells have the ability to secrete molecules that can regulate the chronically over-active inflammatory activities in an area of damage or injury. Additionally, stem cells have the potential to improve disc height and water content, to resolve fissures and lay down new healthy bone cells and cartilage tissue.

For more on how our stem cell therapy can help with back pain, watch our video below.

The Procedure

Stem cell treatment at Okyanos is a minimally invasive, same-day, outpatient procedure. Though recovery varies from patient-to-patient, our protocols are designed and carried out with the goal of keeping downtime to a minimum. A general overview of the procedure is as follows:

  1. First, water-assisted fat harvesting is done to obtain a sufficient amount of adipose (fat) tissue.
  2. The unique blend of stem and regenerative cells that exist in adipose tissue are isolated and prepared for delivery using a proprietary, closed, sterile, fully automated, cell processing system. In about 65 minutes, the highly potent SVF is ready for direct injections and IV infusions.
  3. Our expertly-trained orthopedists will perform direct injections under ultrasound or 2D-fluoroscopic guidance to ensure proper placement of the cells.
  4. The SVF/stem cells might also be administered intravenously (IV) to address the systemic factors relating to orthopedic dysfunction.

The Best Care & Safety

Treatment timeframes are usually three days and might vary depending on the personalized plan:

  1. Day 1: Pre-operative session includes an office visit with the medical staff for a detailed review of the patient’s treatment plan and an opportunity to discuss any questions from the patient and family members.
  2. Day 2: The patient undergoes treatment and briefly rests in our comfortable facility before being escorted back to the hotel for the evening.
  3. Day 3: Post-operative session involves a brief physical at Okyanos and a discharge plan discussion. The physician reviews the post treatment recommendations and communication plan, and clears the patient to go home.

For a more detailed understanding of what to expect, watch the below video series with Gretchen Dezelick, RN and Director of Clinical Operations:

For a detailed understanding of stem cell safety at Okyanos, watch our video below.


Treatment of Discogenic Back Pain with Autologous Bone Marrow Concentrate Injection With Minimum Two Year Follow-Up (January, 2016) in International Orthopaedics. Retrieved from

MSCs: The Sentinel and Safe-Guards of Injury (July, 2016) in Journal of Cellular Physiology. Abstract retrieved from

Clinical Applications of Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Chronic Diseases (30 April 2014) in Stem Cells International. Retrieved from

Therapeutic Potential of Stem Cells in Orthopedics (January-February, 2012) in Indian Journal of Orthopaedics. Retrieved from

Application of Stem Cells in Orthopedics (2012) in Stem Cells International, volume 2012 article ID 394962. Retrieved from

Therapeutic Application of Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Orthopaedics (April, 2005) in Pathologie Biologie. Retrieved from

Application of Stem Cells in Orthopedics (2012) in Stem Cells International, volume 2012 article ID 394962. Retrieved from

Adipose-derived mesenchymal stromal/stem cells: An update on their phenotype in vivo and in vitro (July 26, 2014) in World Journal of Stem Cells. Retrieved from