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Stem Cell

Stem Cell Injection for Back and Neck Pain

Chad Prodromos, MD
The Prodromos Stem Cell Institute
Stem Cell

Back pain is the second most common reason, after upper respiratory infection, that patients see doctors. Physical therapy should always be the first back pain treatment option, but if therapy fails good alternatives really do not exist. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs only mask pain and have a high incidence of bleeding ulcers, kidney failure, and other dangerous side effects. Epidural cortisone injections are designed for sciatic leg pain not back pain, have relatively low efficacy, and have a duration of effect, when they do work, of generally only a few months. And cortisone side effects limit their use.  

Thus, patients with chronic pain are often forced into back surgery as a last resort. Back and neck surgery, however, have a high failure rate for back and neck pain, a high incidence of often serious complications, and when they fail there is often no way to salvage a good result and relieve pain.  

Stem cells derived from umbilical cords (not embryonic or fetal) fight inflammation and help tissue heal. Properly used, they are completely safe with no serious adverse events as reported in numerous studies and reviews. Unfortunately, due to strict FDA regulations, they are almost completely prohibited from use in the United States. We have maintained a busy stem cell center performing stem cell injections in the beautiful Caribbean Island nation of Antigua for three years. We have now opened a state-of-the-art stem cell center in Athens, Greece where we can also perform this work. We are able to fully perform stem cell injections using stem cells approved by the United States FDA for a variety of problems such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and autism. Stem cells also have significant anti-aging effects.  

Because stem cells fight inflammation without side effects, because they promote healing, and because they are genetically programmed to seek out damaged tissue, I hypothesized that a simple translaminar epidural injection, like the ones that women have when they have babies, combined with simple spinal facet injections, would be likely to be helpful for back and neck pain. Therefore, our institute and research foundation set up a clinical trial in Antigua more than two years ago to treat patients with chronic resistant back and neck pain with these simple stem cell injections. Because funding for this treatment does not exist from pharmaceutical companies, patients are required to pay for treatment. The cells are obtained from Vitro Biopharma in Golden, Colorado – the finest producer of stem cells in the world in my opinion. These cells are FDA-approved for use in human patients unlike cells used in other centers. All patients are followed up by the FDA. There has never been a serious adverse event associated with their use.  

Although I am a board-certified orthopedic surgeon (bachelor’s from Princeton, MD from Johns Hopkins, fellowship at Harvard/Mass General) I recruited Dr. Ken Candido: former chairman of anesthesia at Illinois Masonic Medical Center and professor of pain management at the University of Illinois to perform the injections. He is internationally renowned and the finest pain specialist in the world in my opinion. We began the study more than two years ago and have treated more than 60 patients. We recently submitted a paper reporting our results, for patients with a minimum one-year follow-up, for publication.  

The results have been striking. Most patients achieved good pain relief beyond one year of follow-up with roughly the same success rate as surgery. However, unlike surgery, there is minimal treatment discomfort, recovery usually within a week, and no complications or serious adverse events. Treatment is accomplished either with local anesthetic or mild sedation. Patients generally arrive on a Friday, are treated on Saturday, and return home on Sunday or Monday. Their mild soreness is well treated with a motorized ice machine and Tylenol.

Interestingly we treated 8 patients with failed back surgery – for which no good treatment has heretofore existed - and 7 of the 8 have achieved good and enduring relief of pain. Our results were equally good for arthritis or herniated disks. We also found that stem cells injected into the low back epidural space would seek out and treat pain in the neck. This is important because low back (lumbar) epidural injections are completely safe, whereas injecting the cells into the epidural space in the neck is more difficult. We thus never had to inject into the neck epidural space. The government of Australia is also looking at our stem cell treatment and will likely pay for it for osteoarthritis and back pain.  

We believe stem cell injection is the treatment of choice for chronic back and neck pain unresponsive to physical therapy. It is unfortunately not reimbursed by Medicare or any insurance plan in the United States. In addition to Antigua, we opened a stem cell treatment center in Athens, Greece last month.

About Dr. Chadwick Prodromos

Chadwick C Prodromos, M.D. is the Medical Director and CEO of The Prodromos Stem Cell Institute and also Medical Director of the Foundation for Orthopedics and Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Chadwick Prodromos is a global leader in the use of advanced therapies, including stem cell and platelet-rich plasma, for the treatment of a wide range of diseases and has done extensive research in these areas.

Dr. Prodromos obtained his Bachelor's degree with honors from Princeton University and his MD degree education from the Johns Hopkins Medical School. He served a surgical internship at the University of Chicago, after which he completed his residency training in Orthopedic Surgery at Rush University. He obtained a fellowship in Orthopedics and Sports medicine at the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. Board Certified in Orthopedic Surgery, Dr. Prodromos served as an assistant professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Rush University for nearly three decades and has extensive publications and research in both orthopedics and stem cell treatment.  

To learn more about stem cell therapies for autism at the Prodromos Stem Cell Institute, click here. Call 847-699-6810 for a preliminary treatment evaluation and assessment with Dr. Prodromos at zero cost.  

To learn more about stem cell treatment options and stay informed about the latest advances in the field, please visit If you're considering stem cell therapy and would like a free quote, visit to get started on your journey toward better health and improved quality of life.

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