Osteoarthritis affects more than 3 million people in the United States each year. The most common form affects the knee joints, causing stiffness, pain, and a reduction in your ability to walk around and live your life normally.
Losing your mobility can feel devastating. It's not just about walking - it chips away at your independence and autonomy as a person. Suddenly, you might have to rely on others for your basic needs, whereas before you could do everything yourself.
This can feel debilitating and demoralizing, especially since you know there's no cure for arthritis. There are only treatments that stave off the pain for short periods of time.
But what if that wasn't true? What if there was a treatment that could significantly improve your pain management and quality of life?
Stem cell therapy for knees is booming, and that's because it works. Stem cells are a form of regenerative medicine that improves your condition over time, and permanently. Keep reading to learn more and find out why stem cell therapy might be right for you.
Right now, most of the cells in your body have a designated role. Their job is fixed and they can only perform in ways that fulfill their purpose.
For example, hair growth cells on your head can only grow hair. If you took a cell from your stomach lining and put it on your scalp, it wouldn't start growing hair, because all it knows how to do is digest food.
But we're not born with all of our cells having their correct programming yet. Before these roles are assigned, the cells are without a specific purpose and are therefore able to perform a wide variety of different functions.
These jobless cells are called stem cells.
What's so amazing about stem cells is that if you integrate them into a certain part of the body, they will mimic the cells around them and start performing the same functions. Scientists can manipulate them into becoming bone cells, heart muscle cells, and almost anything else.
Stem cells are used for many purposes, one of which is regenerative medicine and therapies.
Since we can manipulate cells into performing a certain role, it's possible to insert a batch of healthy stem cells into an area of the body that is damaged, diseased, or broken down.
Once in place, these stem cells will begin to regenerate and repair the damaged tissues. It's even possible for the stem cells to grow into new, healthy tissues to replace the bad ones.
Stem cell therapy is a form of regenerative medicine. It is non-surgical and requires the same amount of effort and recovery as getting a shot. A doctor will use a needle to inject the healthy stem cells directly into the diseased or affected area.
Stem cell therapy is also completely non-invasive. The treatment is designed to stimulate the healing mechanisms that already exist within your body. There's no sedation or surgical scars, and nothing artificial implanted into you. It's all about holistically nudging your body towards a state of healing.
Osteoarthritis is so painful and limiting because it occurs when the soft cartilage around the ends of your bones is worn down at a joint. The cartilage is a cushion to absorb the shock and force generated by everyday activities such as walking around. They keep the joint comfortably in place.
Without cartilage, the leg bones will scrape against each other at the knee joint, causing severe pain and bone spurs. This causes inflammation, which is one of the main reasons osteoarthritis is so painful and limiting.
After a patient receives their first stem cell injection, the first thing they'll probably notice is a gradual reduction in inflammation of the knee joints. This allows the patient to regain some of their mobility and stop relying on pain medication to manage their symptoms.
A recent study from the University Health Network in Toronto followed a small group of people with moderate to severe osteoarthritis of the knees over a period of one year. All of the patients received three stem cell injections throughout the year.
At the end of the study, the researchers found that all of the study participants reported less pain and a better quality of life than before they began the study. Participants who received higher doses of stem cells in the injections had the best outcomes.
Besides asking participants to self-report, the researchers also took regular MRI scans of the patients' affected joints. Over the year, they noticed a marked decrease in inflammation around the knees.
This was a small study, but it is highly promising. It confirmed many theories about the positive benefits of stem cell therapy for knee injuries and arthritis. It also paved the way for future studies.
Scientists will continue to research, but there are already so many instances of patients whose lives were significantly improved by stem cell therapy.
If you are experiencing pain due to osteoarthritis, consider reaching out to us at Rejuvenate Medical Group in San Diego.
We spent years doing the research and work to build a practice that approaches each patient holistically. We're not interested in quick fixes. In evaluating each patient, we take their lifestyle, job, family, and all other parts of their life into consideration in order to provide the best possible treatment to each individual.
If you are experiencing osteoarthritis or joint pain, contact us today to schedule a consultation about stem cell therapy for knees or other parts of the body. We look forward to helping you improve your quality of life.