If you are plagued by osteoarthritis, you are likely willing to consider just about any form of treatment for pain relief. The good news is you are not alone so there is a strong push in the medical community to heal this joint disease. In fact, osteoarthritis is the most common form of degenerative joint disease.
Often called “OA”, this form of arthritis is a fact of life for plenty of seniors. OA occurs when the cartilage that guards the end points of bones slowly wears away. This rubbery cartilage eventually wears to the point where bone moves against bone. This can occur in any joint within the body. However, OA most common occurs in the spine, hips, hands and knees. OA seems especially painful when there is bone-on-bone contact.
There is some hope for OA sufferers. Scientists have determined patients who use their own stem cells might enjoy rapid OA healing. The use of stem cells in combination with pain relief, physical therapy and/or cortisone injections might prove to be the optimal approach. Consult with your doctor before moving forward with any type of treatment plan. Let’s take a closer look at how stem cells might heal OA.
The Human Body Might be the Secret to Healing Osteoarthritis
Physicians at Emory University’s Orthopedics and Spine Center made news five years ago when using regenerative stem cell therapy. This therapy has proven to be a highly effective means of treating OA along with additional joint problems. Regenerative stem cell therapy relies on human stem cells to correct damaged portions of tissues, decrease the patient’s pain and ultimately speed up the recovery period.
The stem cells are taken directly from the body. A needle is inserted in the bone marrow of the hip or abdominal fat. The stem cells are removed, put in a centrifuge and subsequently spun to form a concentrate. The purpose of this process is to segregate the stem cells. Such cells are injected in the joint a couple minutes later.
The reapplication of the patient’s stem cells hastens healing. All in all, using stem cells requires about an hour to an hour and a half. In some cases, two hours or longer will be necessary. However, most stem cell applications can be completed in two hours or less.
The patient endures minimal pain, few side effects and vastly improved well-being. The purpose of taking the stem cells directly from the patient is to reduce the chances of rejection. This approach to treating OA has proven successful for the vast majority of patients. It really does enhance joint health in as quickly as a month’s time.
Stem Cell Types
Certain stem cells promote the healing of cartilage, tendons and ligaments. These stem cells are known as mesenchymal cells. The body has a considerable number of such cells at its disposal to remedy damaged tissue. At the moment, there is minimal evidence implementing these cells can serve as a replacement for lost joint cartilage. However, these cells do serve the purpose of signaling to spur protein transmission that reduces the rate of cartilage degeneration and pain.
Stem Cells Have Become the Focal Point of Regenerative Medicine
Stem cells are all the rage in the medical community. These cells boost the healing process by replicating and differentiating into various cell types for numerous functions across the entirety of the body. Stem cells follow in the footsteps of platelet-rich plasma. This approach had been in use for about a decade.
Stem cell therapy hit the scene around 2012. It is possible advancements in stem cell research could soon make it the preferred means for repairing cartilage cells. These cells endure damage as a result of wear, genetics, obesity and physical activity. In addition to treating the pain of OA, stem cell therapy is also a respected alternative to pain relievers and can even prevent the need for total joint replacement surgery.
Stem Cells and the FDA
It is worth noting some medical professionals view stem cells as an experimental treatment of sorts. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now trying to determine the best way to regulate stem cell therapies. There is a certain irony in using the cells of one’s own body to treat OA.
It will be interesting to follow the development of this potentially breakthrough treatment. It might not be long until OA sufferers far and wide can obtain relief from their body’s own stem cells.
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