In America, more than 15 million people suffer from joint pain related to arthritis. Over 50 percent of those people deal with pain on a regular basis, especially on weight-bearing joints such as the knees.
In the United States idea of using stem cells for knee pain is recent. This form of regenerative medicine is effective at addressing both short and long-term pain. It also carries the possibility of eliminating knee pain altogether. Are you interested in learning more about stem cell therapy and how it can work for you? Keep reading to find out.
What Is Stem Cell Therapy and How Does it Work?
We all have stem cells in our bodies. They are responsible for tissue growth and repair. In our youth our stem cells are abundant and very active, however as we reach maturity, they significantly decrease in quantity and activity. The older we are, the less stem cells we have. This is why as we age we start to notice aches and pains we didn’t feel when we were younger. When there are not enough stem cells to respond to the damage or wear and tear we have sustained, tissue degeneration occurs.
Stem cell therapy is a minimally invasive procedure where stem cells are injected into a joint or other area of the body. Stem cells can sense inflammation and will begin to recruit the other cells in your body to begin working on the regeneration of new tissue.
Using Stem Cells for Knee Pain
Stem cell therapy is one of the many services people with joint conditions can use to aid with the regeneration of new cartilage in the knees while addressing pain. Stem cell therapy has the ability to repair organs and nerves in the body. People with acute knee injuries, like runners and hikers, can benefit from stem cells for pain as well.
In regards to knee pain therapy, it can decrease inflammation and delay or eliminate the need for knee replacement therapy. This is because it can maintain the original position of the ligaments and restore the function and motion in the area.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are the primary types of stem cells doctors use to treat knee pain. Stem cells go to work to rebuild damaged cartilage and the surrounding area. MSCs, in particular, have the ability to reduce scarring, inflammation, and strengthen the immune system.
Doctors may also use platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy in conjunction with stem cell therapy to boost its positive effects. PRP can be an effective booster after stem cell therapy because the plasma is a rich source of growth factors which are essential to the regeneration of new tissue.
Does Stem Cell Therapy Work? What Are the Side Effects?
Stem cell therapy for knee pain works for those dealing with acute or chronic joint conditions. The procedure is quick and you can return to your normal activities within a day or two. For some people, clinicians will recommend you take stem cell injections over a course of time in order to get the best results.
There is no such thing as any treatment being 100 percent effective for everyone. However, many of those who do opt for stem cell therapy notice a difference. There are many studies that find it does indeed improve joint function.
Patients also view it as an effective alternative to other, more invasive options. Follow-up MRI tests prove that stem cell therapy is able to restore and rebuild cartilage. Bone-on-bone friction is reduced as the subchondral bone recovers. Patients can notice positive changes within a few months following therapy.
Potential Side Effects
Still, it is important to understand the side effects and risks so you can be fully informed and decide whether or not stem cell therapy is for you. The procedure is non-invasive so side-effects are minimal.
There is a chance you may experience swelling, tenderness, and pain around the site. Another less common side effect is stiffness at the injection site. This is often transient and resolves on its own in a few days.
Looking Into Stem Cells for Treatment
There are many conditions stem cell therapy can treat when you are dealing with joint conditions. Using stem cells for knee pain, cartilage degeneration and acute issues such as a torn MCL or ACL can be a great alternative compared to other options that are more invasive.
If you are suffering from debilitating pain, whether acute or chronic, book an appointment with us to work with a trained provider who can help you determine if stem cell therapy is right for you.
They will evaluate your injury to build the best treatment recommendation. It is possible to address knee pain without having to consider knee replacement.