When Back Pain Makes It Impossible To Work | Virginia Spine Institute
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When Back Pain Makes It Impossible To Work

Authored by Virginia Spine Institute, Dr. Niteesh Bharara, MD. September 20, 2023

About 80% of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their life so it’s no surprise that it deeply impacts many people’s workday. Whether your job is physical and keeps you on your feet all day — or you’re a desk warrior sitting 8 hours a day — back pain can definitely get in the way of doing your job.

Deb Dramby understands and has experienced this — more than once. The Virginia farmer is happiest when she’s outside, growing or distributing produce through Willowsford Farm, bringing farmers in the Mid-Atlantic together through Future Harvest, or running her own company — 56 Hooves, which brings targeted grazing goats to overgrown areas for an environmentally friendly way to manage unwanted vegetation.

In 2018, she had to give up her job at a Willowsford Farm and hit pause on the goat grazing business when back pain forced her to get a spinal fusion. It took her nearly two years before she felt physically strong enough to get back to farming, and not long after, she started experiencing pain above her fusion area in 2022. Worried and close to giving up on her dream, she came to see Dr. Bharara.

“The pain was really intense, but I just refuse to live on pain medicine. It makes me nauseous, plus, I’m sober so it’s important to me to live clean and lucid,” she explains. “I had really good results with PRP on my SI joints in the past, so I was really hopeful when Dr. Bharara suggested Stem Cell Therapy.”

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) and Stem Cell Therapy are two types of non-operative regenerative medicine. PRP involves drawing a patient’s blood in a common blood test and spinning it in a centrifuge to separate the different components. The concentrated plasma solution is then injected into affected areas. Stem Cell Therapy involves taking your own stem cells from your body’s bone marrow and injecting them into injured or damaged areas. Both procedures are non-operative, out-patient and both supercharge healing and eliminate pain.

“PRP was incredibly effective for my SI joints,” Deb says, “so I was really hopeful about trying Stem Cell Therapy in the new area of my back — above my fusion where this new pain had developed.”

Deb had a Stem Cell Therapy procedure in October 2022. “I walked into the building at 7:30 am and walked out at 11 am,” Deb says. “I felt some soreness that day when I went home but I had the procedure on a Monday and was back to veggie farming on Thursday morning. By Saturday, I planted 10,000 garlic cloves and was amazed. It’s remarkable how non-invasive something so positively life-altering can be.”

Dr. Bharara explained to Deb that the best results with Regenerative Medicine can take time. She really started to notice improvements three months in and a year later says she’s doing great and encourages anyone struggling to do the job they love because of pain — to seek help and realize — there are many non-surgical options for back pain you can explore.

“I didn’t expect it to fix things, me, my back. I feel so positive about this and grateful for it — it’s hard to even explain,” Deb says. “I’m back to working as much as I want and doing things that I hadn’t been able to do in a long time because I was in so much pain. I’m driving, trimming hooves, moving loads of produce, moving and setting up fencing for the goats, and exercising on top of that. Farming in so labor intensive even but at work today I feel like my younger self and am thrilled to be able to do what I love. To say this has been life changing is an understatement.”

Dr. Niteesh Bharara is a world-renowned, double board certified orthopedic physician specializing in non-surgical sports medicine. He serves as the Director of Regenerative Medicine at Virginia Spine Institute and leads the Mid-Atlantic region in performing effective natural therapies such as stem cell therapy, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), prolotherapy, and adipose injections. Dr. Bharara’s distinguished expertise within this field earned him 2022 Face of Regenerative Medicine, and Top Doctor recognition in consecutive years. Learn more about Dr. Bharara.

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