Somewhere between rehabilitation and surgery
The role and hope for regenerative medicine
It is estimated that about 30% of visits to doctors in primary care are for musculoskeletal problems. A very important role in the first visit for shoulder pain, neck pain, back pain, or knee pain is to identify the type of care that has the highest likelihood of a fast, safe, and complete recovery from this type of pain. The most commonly sought after methods of treatment for problems like back pain are rehabilitation and surgery. As a rehabilitation profession who sees a great deal of back pain in my office. I would like to give you some insight into my thought process as a rehabilitation provider. We are going to talk about what rehabilitation can do, what it can’t do, when to consider options, and why regenerative medicine is an exciting option.
Rehabilitation as Treatment
There are many techniques and professions that may fall under the rehabilitation description. Hands-on treatment is commonly associated with chiropractic care, and exercise is often associated with physical therapy. Most practitioners should use a combination of the two (and often some other things) to get the best results. The intention of most rehabilitation treatment is:
Better Movement = Less Tissue Insult = Less Pain & Better Healing
Even the best rehabilitation care for a low back injury will fall short in some instances. In these cases, the opinion of a surgeon is often sought. And in some case, the opinion of a surgeon may be sought early on based on clinical findings.
Some people, the lucky ones, will get well with rehabilitation. Others, still quite lucky, will get well with surgery. There is group still, that doesn’t fit into either of these groups. What can be done for this group? Regenerative medicine shows a great deal of promise for this group. While I am not an expert in the field of regenerative medicine, I can call to mind well over fifty cases, in my five-year career where I would recommend it at the onset of care. I can think of much more cases when rehabilitation or surgery has not been the answer.
Back pain and other injuries are not always straight forward and simple problems. There are many solutions available to treat these problems and matching the correct solution to the suitable problem is a big part of the work that we do at Inovo Medical. The more good tools we have, the better results we often see. I see regenerative medicine as an excellent tool in helping people with back pain and other injuries.
Written by Ben Matheson
Mathieu Bélanger, MD, CCFP, CPSO Recognized Specialist (Chronic Pain), is the founder and President of Inovo Medical. Dr. Bélanger began his academic career by earning an undergraduate degree in kinesiology (i.e., the science of body mechanics) before enrolling in medicine at the University of Montréal. He is particularly interested in pain related to sports injuries and musculo-skeletal disorders. This interest led him to travel extensively for various types of training on pain treatment given by leading experts. Since then, his objective has been to play an active role in the development and delivery of the most sophisticated and effective treatments for chronic pain. By founding Inovo Medical, Dr. Bélanger hopes to deploy stem-cell technology in Canada, given that the results achieved with this technology are revolutionizing pain medicine.