This health video explains the procedures for less painful back surgeries.
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Jennifer Matthews: C. J. Thompson tried everything to win her ten-year battle with back pain. C.J. Thompson: I had a degenerative disc. If I did anything strenuous like work around the house or work in the yard, it would get pretty severe towards, in the evening, and I wouldn't be able to do anything. Jennifer Matthews: When she thought her pain was interfering with her hopes of having a child, C.J. Became one of the half a million people to go through spinal fusion each year. Dr. Scott Boden: A spine fusion is when we take two adjacent spinal bones and get them to stick together so they no longer have movement or motion. Jennifer Matthews: By fusing the bones, the long-term pain is eliminated, but the procedure itself is painful. Dr. Scott Boden: In order to do a spine fusion, at some point it involves moving bone from one part of the body. That additional surgery can cause infection and chronic pain. Now, Doctor Scott Boden says a genetically engineered protein called bmp can eliminate those risks by eliminating the need for a bone graft. Dr. Scott Boden: You could think of it as a bone commander signal in a bottle. Jennifer Matthews: Doctors soak a sponge with the protein, put it into the spine, and in a few months, the body turns that sponge into bone. It worked for C.J. C.J. Thompson: I've had my child and I went through pregnancy just fine and I'm able to pick him up and play with him and push him around in the driveway. Jennifer Matthews: In fact, C.J. Hasn't had any pain since she had the surgery. And now she has time to focus on more important things. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.