Stem cell therapy is an exciting area of research that holds tremendous potential for helping chronic pain patients reduce their pain. Rapid advances in this field of medicine are buoying doctors’ and patients’ hopes that the exciting therapy could change lives. Advances are being made nearly every day, and as scientists further understand the nature of these cells, even more uses for them are becoming known. If you’ve ever wondered about how stem cell therapy could help you, these 15 questions delve into how this therapy works and who it could be used for.
What is stem cell therapy?
Stem cell therapy, also known as regenerative medicine, promotes the reparative response of diseased, dysfunctional or injured tissue using stem cells or their derivatives… Researchers grow stem cells in a lab. These stem cells are manipulated to specialize into specific types of cells, such as heart muscle cells, blood cells or nerve cells. The specialized cells can then be implanted into a person.”
What’s the difference between stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine?
Stem cell therapy is a type of treatment within the larger umbrella of regenerative medicine. Our longer post on regenerative medicine discusses the types of treatments available, including stem cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma injections.
What is a stem cell?
Stem cells are essentially blank canvases that can transform into any type of cell in the human body. Specialized cells like bone cells, liver cells, and heart cells begin as stem cells. The process of the cells transforming from blank slates into specialized cells is called differentiation. Stem cell therapy is the process of injecting these cells into damaged areas of the body, such as arthritic knees or shoulders. The stem cells then differentiate into damaged tissue, helping to regenerate the entire area.
Where do stem cells come from?
In adults, stem cells are present within a variety of tissues and organs. The most common and richest source comes from your bone marrow, and your hip bone is one of the best and most convenient locations to withdraw bone marrow.
How are adult stem cells obtained, prepared and delivered?
During your adult stem cell therapy procedure, the doctor will use a needle to withdraw bone marrow from your posterior Iliac crest (lower back area). A trained nurse or technician then uses specifically designed equipment to concentrate the adult stem cells and growth factors present in the bone marrow and provides the cells back to the physician for implantation into the targeted area(s).
How does stem cell therapy for pain help?
Stem cell therapy is being studied for many chronic pain conditions, especially pain in the: knees, back, hips and elbows.
What can stem therapy treat?
Knee injuries (MCL, ACL, PCL or LCL sprains or tears
Hip or Labral Tears
Shoulder damage (rotator cuff, tendinitis in the shoulder)
Wrist, Elbow and Ankle damage and pain
Essentially, if you have damage to a ligament or lingering pain to a specific area of your body, stem cell therapy can help. It is the best non-invasive regenerative therapy available and a groundbreaking advancement.
While adult stem cells have been used for decades to treat a variety of diseases, their application in the treatment of pain is relatively new. Because of this, insurance companies do not currently cover the therapy.
Speak to the doctors at Lederman Kwartowitz Center for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine about costs and your treatment plan for stem cell therapy.