How stem cells can be used to treat knee pain?
In the human body, certain organs (such as gut and bone marrow) have the capability to “repair themselves” when any damage occurs because they have a high number of stem cells. However, in some cases, the rate of damage exceeds the rate of reparation and the tissues and organs deteriorate until they stop working properly.
Likewise, as we get old, the stem cells become insufficient to repair the damaged cells of the injured area. The stem cells therapy is considered by many experts as a great finding and improvement to the current medical treatments, especially in musculoskeletal conditions that cause chronic pain.
What is the stem cells therapy?
The stem cells can be defined as those cells which have the potential to differentiate into many different cell types in the body according to the stimuli that they receive. This property is especially active during early life and growth, and it is very important for the human body because it confers a sort of natural internal repair system.
The signals that stimulate the stem cells can be both natural or artificial (started by a doctor in a laboratory), but in any case, they trigger the stem cell differentiation process to create any type of specific cells with determined functions.
Is the Stem Cell therapy for knee pain a good option?
One of the main medical uses of stem cells nowadays is the control of chronic pain, especially to improve the quality of life of old people in which surgical treatments are not recommended. In fact, different studies have demonstrated that stem cells injections can help to relieve the pain caused by osteoarthritis in joints like the knee.
Many researchers even say that stem cells therapy for knee pain is so good that using stem cells injections in one knee also induces relieving the pain in the other one. This fact is important because it means that stem cells have the natural capability of detecting the areas of the body that have suffered damage to repair the damaged cells.
These are good news because knee pain is, unfortunately, a very common condition worldwide. Only in the US, the doctors perform more than 600000 total knee replacements per year. In fact, these procedures are included among the most common orthopedic procedures in the United States. This can be explained by the fact that chronic knee pain can be caused by many reasons, such as overweight, overusing or untreated exercise injuries (most common causes).
How is the stem cells therapy for knee pain performed?
In the first place, the doctor will perform a complete medical evaluation and will indicate certain blood tests to determine the patient’s general health condition. Stem cells therapy is a minimally invasive procedure that consists in using a special syringe to insert powerful stem cells in the areas with inflammation and damage, such as the knee joint.
The stem cells have been isolated from people in all life’s stages. However, in the last decade, the umbilical cord blood has been used as the main source of stem cells because it has a very important advantage over the other sources, which is the fact that a person can use the stem cells coming from a donor.
This is important because many studies have shown that there is no need to find a perfect matching between the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) system of the donor and the recipient, which is the system involved in the development of graft vs host disease.
In fact, during the last years, the government of the United States of America has stimulated the cord blood stem cells donation, and by 2004, there were more than 6000 cord blood stem cell units banked in this country.
The doctor obtains the stem cells from a donor and then proceeds to inject the processed stem cells into the knee. The doctor can use certain image tests during the procedure to guide the needle to the specific area of the knee that must be repaired. Likewise, the doctor can add vitamin C, eicosanoids and amino-acids to the injections in order to increase the knee cells response.
Remember that only a qualified doctor can determine if stem cell therapy is a good option for you, and only he/she can perform the procedure in order to guarantee the best results.
What are the benefits of Stem Cells Therapy for knee pain?
One of the main advantages of stem cells therapy for knee pain is the fact that a knee surgery/replacement is a very invasive procedure (in most cases it must be performed under general anesthesia and a prosthesis must be used), while the stem cells injections help to decrease the recovery time after the procedure, and it is considered painless.
Another important advantage of stem cells therapy for knee pain is the fact that it helps to regenerate all the damaged and worn out tissues of the joint, including cartilage and ligaments, by replacing their damaged/dead cells in just one procedure and without requiring any foreign material for the human body.
The stem cell therapy increases the body’s own natural repair system and promotes the healing by natural signals, so there is no risk of rejection by the patient’s immune system to the treatment. The cost of stem cells therapy for knee pain is also lower than knee replacement surgery, which is also considered an advantage of this treatment.
Finally, the experts say that stem cell therapy for knee pain is so effective as knee replacement. In fact, some studies show that more than 60% of the patients who undergo this treatment experience a significant improvement. Moreover, this therapy involves fewer risks for the patient and the possible side effects are less severe than knee replacement surgery.