Chronic pain is the leading cause of long-term disability in the U.S. and affects roughly one-fifth of the adult population. Yet, despite its prevalence, treatments for chronic pain are often ineffective. Patients are often advised to use home remedies, such as NSAIDs or heat therapy, which can temporarily mask discomfort, only to have it return later. Prescription painkillers are habit-forming and carry a host of undesirable side effects. Surgeries are invasive and have their own risks, too.
Understandably, people experiencing chronic pain seek an alternative, and the medical community is working hard to respond. Recently, researchers have begun exploring stem cell therapy as a more permanent and viable solution for chronic pain to heal the compromised tissue instead of simply masking symptoms. Here’s a look into what this regenerative medicine therapy could do.
The Power of Stem Cells
Stem cells are the foundations for every specialized cell type in the body. They are at their most powerful during the embryo stage, when they transform into differentiated cells and multiply indefinitely to support fetal development.
As we age, the body still retains some stem cells. Although they aren’t as strong as they were during the embryonic stage, they still hold enormous regenerative potential. For instance, following an injury, stem cells aid in the repair process, though they aren’t always as strong or in the quantity needed for a full recovery.
Leveraging the Power of Stem Cells: Chronic Pain Fighters
Stem cell therapy calls on the body’s natural repair kit by taking the stem cells you already produce and redirecting them to problem areas, such as compromised joint tissue. The cells can either be extracted from the patient themselves, found in sources such as the bone marrow and adipose (fat) tissue, or provided via donors. They are then strategically administered to the area of damaged tissue, where the body accepts the healing agents.
Once stem cells have been administered, they perform their job of minimizing inflammation, as well as regenerating and repairing damaged tissue. Thus, they don’t simply mask pain, but actually work to heal the underlying issue.
While there are many conditions for which stem cells are being used as a promising treatment, here are just a few of the most common issues related that they can treat:
- Sports injuries
- Degenerative disc disease
- Musculoskeletal injury
- Persistent joint pain
If you’re experiencing an orthopedic, autoimmune, or degenerative condition causing chronic pain, stem cell therapy could hold the key to helping you lead a life with less pain. Contact a Care Coordinator today for a free assessment!