Joint pain can affect your life in surprising and dramatic ways, forcing you to change routines, give up activities that you enjoy, and make it difficult to meet your day-to-day obligations. Whether you’re feeling pain in your shoulders, hands, hips, knees, or some other joint, you know how difficult simple actions and movements can be.
Stem cell therapy at the South Texas Spinal Clinic is a new treatment provided by the Stem Cell Orthopedic Institute of Texas® that shows great promise in treating joint pain caused by deteriorating cartilage, such as in arthritis. Researchers are still learning about the potential uses of stem cell therapy, but results so far are encouraging.
The most evidence gathered so far has been on how stem cell therapy may benefit patients who have knee osteoarthritis. In knee osteoarthritis, the cartilage in your knee begins to degrade, allowing the bones of your knee joint to rub against each other painfully. There is no cure, but the condition can be slowed down and the pain relieved.
Common treatments for knee osteoarthritis are over-the-counter pain relievers, injections, and knee replacement. Stem cell therapy may also offer an effective treatment; some researchers think that stem cells may even encourage your body to repair the damaged cartilage.
What Is Special About Stem Cells
Stem cells are building blocks for the human body. They can both duplicate themselves and transform into different types of cells. The theory is that stem cells injected into an environment such as an arthritic knee can transform into cartilage cells and repair at least some of the damage.
There’s not enough evidence yet for scientists to know that’s what happens, but enough people have gotten stem cell treatment and experienced pain relief for doctors to believe the treatment can be beneficial. Additionally, the studies have had largely positive results, and there’s little risk associated with the procedure.
Harvesting Stem Cells
When you have stem cell therapy, the cells most come from your own body, which reduces the likelihood of complications. You aren’t likely to have any sort of reaction to your own tissue. There are three ways your doctor may choose to harvest your stem cells:
- From fat tissue, called adipose tissue, using surgery or liposuction
- From your blood
- From your bone marrow through a procedure with a needle called bone marrow aspiration
Stem cells harvested from blood and bone marrow have shown the most promise in providing pain relief and regenerative medical benefits to patients. Your doctor at your local South Texas Spinal Clinic discusses the best way to harvest your stem cells prior to your treatment. You can also have an anesthetic, if necessary, during the harvesting procedure.
Potential Benefits of Stem Cell Therapy
After your doctor harvests the stem cells, they use an ultrasound or other imaging devices to inject the cells precisely where needed in your joint. You’ll probably begin to feel results within a couple of weeks.
The pain relief from stem cell therapy isn’t permanent. Most people find that they need another treatment in about six months or so, but the same would likely be true for other injection treatments, such as steroids or hyaluronic acid.
If you’d like to learn more about stem cell therapy and its potential benefits for painful joints, book an appointment online or by phone with one of our experts at South Texas Spinal Clinic. You can get answers to all of your questions and discuss your specific situation with a highly qualified expert.