Relieving Joint Pain and Arthritis with Stem Cell Treatments
There are strong indications that stem cell treatments may be the answer to healing many types of arthritic pain. In an April 2013, ABC News reported on a case of a Kentucky woman who was cured of their arthritis through stem cell treatments. More and more patients are getting stem cell procedures to help alleviate joint pain naturally using their own stem cells. These patients who have taken the leap of faith in this new technology are now experiencing the restorative and healing properties of this treatment.
Adipose Derived Stem Cells
For years, stem cell treatments have been applied to achy joints suffering from degenerative conditions or injury. Stem cells have been used to treat many orthopedic conditions, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Professional athletes have used Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and stem cells as a supplemental treatment for sports injuries. Studies have shown that adipose derived (from fat) mesenchymal stem cells differentiate into musculoskeletal tissues such as bone, ligament, muscle and tendons. In addition to the regenerative effects of stem cells, they also possess anti-inflammatory properties. Stem cells are very effective at stopping inflammation, which is the cause of pain in many orthopedic conditions.
Adipose stem cell treatments combine the healing powers of Growth Factor Rich Plasma (GFRP) and adipose derived stem cells to achieve the best results. Adipose derived stem cells and GFRP can be injected directly into joints to promote the healing process. Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is blood plasma enriched with platelets. PRP releases several different growth factors and proteins that stimulate healing of bone and soft tissue.
Advances in Treatment with Bone Marrow Cells
Some health care facilities in the United States are now offering a new stem cell treatment for the treatment of osteoarthritis, which is the most common type of arthritis. Here’s how it works. Bone marrow is extracted from the iliac crest bone and then it is concentrated within a centrifuge. The patient then has this injected straight into the painful joint. Since it comes directly from the patient, it has no chance for rejection. As a plus, there are relatively few side effects to the treatment, and most patients are healed and back to their normal lives within a week of treatment.
This is a viable alternative therapy, and research shows it to be quite more effective than the more conventional treatments for joint and arthritis pains. If someone does not want any surgical option, the treatments are limited, and these bone marrow cell treatments can provide a more long-term solution than the short-term relief that patients can get from cortical steroid injections.
When these stem cells are injected into the body, they offer possibilities for healing beyond what we currently know as well. It’s hoped that each patient’s body can receive a lot of cells directly into the area that’s damaged, and that the body then works with the cells so that healthier cells form and grow at the site of the pain.
The Combination of Bone Marrow Stem Cells and Fat Stem Cells
Joint pain and tissue regeneration are sometimes best achieved with a combined treatment of bone marrow cells and fat stem cells. By themselves, fat cells extracted through liposuction have their prowess. However, studies do indicate that a combination of bone marrow cell treatments and treatments with fat cells can serve to really help a patient to heal. A regular bone marrow stem cell extraction procedure is done, then so is a specifically small liposuction procedure. The fat tissue that’s extracted is then used in the formation of a structural fat graft, something that has been used by surgeons for a long time to help in the healing process of several types of procedures. When a damaged area of the body is treated with bone marrow cells and fat, they receive what is needed to promote optimal healing.
Other Stem Cell Treatments in the Fight against Arthritis
Extensive medical testing has presented evidence that stem cell treatment has the potential to contribute to enormous healing in many types of arthritis in both animals and people. What’s even more promising is its potential to guard against a negative reaction from the immune system while simultaneously encouraging and contributing to the body’s ability to heal itself.
Details on Administration of Treatments
A patient receives an intra-articular injection of his own extracted stem cells directly to the site of his arthritic pain. This stimulates chondocytes, which are the cells that are found in healthy cartilage. It decreases inflammation and pain as well as modulating the activity of T lymphocytes.
Although stem cell treatments have this reputation of being the wave of the future, which they truly are, the body of every single human regularly experience stem cells replacing millions of cells that die on a daily basis. This happens without fail within all organs to enable growth and cell regeneration. The marvel of advances in treatment is that we can use processes that the body does in healthy areas to assist it in damaged parts of the body. It is a process still being studied and perfected, but it is performed in many clinics within the country as it is today. The adipose-derived and bone marrow stem cells are administered by a licensed physician into the affected joint(s) (intra-articular injection) and intravenously (IV).
The Old vs. The New
Hip and knee joint replacements are often the treatments that people rely on who develop severe arthritis or the deterioration of bone and cartilage. However, those artificial replacements last less than two decades, and repairing them is often problematic, if not impossible. Joint fusion is another type of surgery that is sometimes used, but it has its own set of problems as well.
Smaller, less effective treatments range from lotions to medications that one has to take every day to forms of physical therapy. Only some forms of arthritis respond to physical therapy treatments. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are used to relieve pain and inflammation, and they can be obtained in the form of gels or creams. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs only help rheumatoid arthritis. Analgesics work to relieve pain but do not affect inflammation.
The more viable option is looking to be stem cell treatments, but they are still limited. In fact, many insurance plans do not even cover the treatments. The obstacles now in front of surgeons and patience is to establish the effectiveness and necessity of these treatments going forward in the fight against arthritis and other joint pains.