Stem cell injections are used as a form of therapy in regenerative medicine, a branch of medicine that focuses on healing damaged tissues and organs. Stem cells are a special type of cell that can divide and split into nearly any type of cell. For example, stem cells can become liver cells or brain cells. When directly injected into an injury, it’s believed that stem cells can promote healing at the cellular level. Stem cell therapy for knees, as an alternative to shoulder surgery, and as a remedy for chronic pain like that of MS is proving safe and effective in clinical trials. Issues like joint pain and sport-related injuries may all benefit from the use of stem cell treatment.
Where Do Stem Cells Come From?
Stem cell treatments have some controversy around them because of the misconceptions of where stem cells come from. Embryos are not even close to the only source of stem cells. The stem cells used in regenerative medicine can be harvested from live birth products willingly donated by mothers, or can be drawn from a patient’s own supply. Once the blood is drawn, the stem cells are separated from the blood to create a concentrate of stem cells. Stem cell therapy is sometimes combined with platelet-rich-plasma treatments.
Are Stem Cell Injections Effective?
While there are a limited number of clinical studies on the use of stem cell therapy in regenerative medicine, most of them show promising results for patients suffering from a wide variety of conditions. These include joint pain, lower back pain, tendon injuries, and more. In most cases, positive results were reported after only just 1 injection. MS stem cell treatments have been used for years in the form of bone marrow transplants, so it would follow that other types of stem cell therapies would also be effective at regenerating damaged tissues and/or cell functions. Because using stem cells for pain is such a safe way to treat pain and sometimes even eliminate its cause, stem cell therapy has a huge potential to change the face of pain medicine.
Who Is Eligible for Stem Cell Treatment?
Stem cell therapy has shown to be beneficial for a wide variety of tissue conditions; it works as a torn tendon treatment, for vaginal rejuvenation or sexual dysfunction, as therapy for knee damage, and many more applications. In short, any condition that involves degeneration of tissues, joints, or organs may benefit from the use of injections with stem cells. Virtually anyone can receive stem cell injections safely; since the injection fluid is made from the patient’s own body or a biocompatible outside source, there’s an extremely small chance of adverse reactions.
Do Stem Cell Injections Hurt?
One common question we’re often asked about regenerative medicine is “Are stem cell injections painful?” The answer to this question is often subjective and can vary from person to person. In general, a stem cell injection is no more painful than a normal shot. However, because regenerative medicine usually involves injecting a needle directly into an injured joint or tissue, there can be pain involved. Patients will usually receive local anesthesia that can help alleviate some of the discomfort. In general, patients can expect some soreness lasting for a few days after the treatment as well. It should be noted that the treatment is far less painful than surgical interventions for damaged joints. Yes, a stem cell injection or PRP treatment might be uncomfortable, but they’re natural and safe outpatient procedures that have the potential to heal the underlying issue. Traditional pain kill regiments and most surgeries can’t claim any of those things.
What Conditions is Stem Cell Therapy Used For?
Stem cell therapies are used all throughout the world for a variety of different conditions. So far, stem cells have been used in clinical trials for multiple sclerosis, damaged organs, skin, tissue, nerves, corneas, and more. The current research suggests that stem cells are promising in the treatment of certain medical issues that cause chronic pain. More recently, stem cells are injected directly into damaged hearts in hopes of reversing the damage. In addition to medical use, some clinics use these cells for anti-aging purposes.
Is There a Difference Between Stem Cell Injections and PRP Therapy?
Yes – PRP therapy and stem cell therapy are different. But they do have a similar function. Stem cells are living cells that may be lab-grown, taken from live umbilical products, or harvested from your own body. The cells have regenerative properties and are usually injected directly into an injury or damaged tissue. Once injected, the cells begin to duplicate and secrete many compounds that result in a healing response. On the other hand, PRP stands for platelet-rich-plasma and is not as powerful. Plasma is drawn from a vein in your arm and mostly contains growth factors and numerous nutrients that also help promote a healing response. Both types of treatment have shown effectiveness in a variety of different medical conditions. In fact, researchers are looking at the efficacy of PRP therapy for hair loss as we speak. In some cases, clinics may opt to use both therapies or only one. PRP treatments and stem cell therapy are equally safe, but they’re new enough that they need a mountain more clinical research to really flesh out their potential.
Ask a Cincinnati Regenerative Medicine Doctor: Why use Stem Cells for Pain?
You might be wondering why stem cell therapy is such an attractive pain treatment to patients and medical professionals alike. Well, stem cell treatments have the potential to alleviate pain symptoms without the health risks that come with pharmaceuticals or invasive interventions. Even more, while surgeries either remove damage or artificially scaffold an issue, regenerative medicine like stem cell and PRP therapies have the potential to actually heal the issue naturally. The Blatman Health and Wellness Center’s focus is regenerative medicine, because we believe the best healing is natural and comprehensive healing. We offer both stem cell and PRP treatments, and Dr. Blatman has seen great success in patients treated with either. If you’re thinking about stem cell therapy for painful knees, hips, shoulders, or any chronic pain you may have, give us a call to set up a consultation with Dr. Blatman.