Do you experience chronic pain and are looking for an effective remedy for your condition? You should consider stem cell therapy.
Before research any further, it’s important to know exactly what this therapy is and what types of patients will benefit from this method.
Defining Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is typically described as any kind of pain that persists for more than three months. Medical technology can help pinpoint someone’s problem, but it is not always the most practical method.
Because a person’s pain is hard to measure objectively, doctors often rely on patients’ explanations for diagnosis. Similarly, treatment can also be ambiguous as everyone experiences pain in their own unique way.
It is generally accepted that chronic pain cannot be cured but, rather, is managed through different therapies or medications.
Possible Treatments For Chronic Pain
Some common treatment plans include surgery, prescription drugs, or electrical stimulation. Relaxation techniques, behavior modification, and psychotherapy are among the less invasive methods used.
CAM (complementary or alternative medicine) also proves to be effective and includes approaches such as tai chi and meditation.
Self-management strategies where the patient takes a direct role in their pain management have seen an increase in popularity.
Another course of treatment for chronic pain is stem cell therapy. A type of regenerative medicine, this therapy focuses on helping the body heal itself and is popular at many hospitals.
For example, the Chronic Care of Richmond and Regenerative Medicine office utilizes the approach, using mesenchymal stem cells that are proven to facilitate the body’s self-healing processes.
What Are Stem Cells?
There are many different cells that are used in stem cell therapy practices. Harvested embryonic cells, for instance, are used to study typical human development and test new drugs.
Mesenchymal cells (also referred to as stromal cells) are multipotent, meaning that they can differentiate into many different cell types. When they divide, they can develop into new stem cells or cells with a unique function. They are harvested from donated human umbilical cord blood.
Are Stem Cells Safe?
Donors are screened for any complications with their medical history to ensure that only healthy cells are collected. There has never been a case of rejection as stem cells are undifferentiated.
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) cannot approve stem cell therapy because stem cells are not classified as a drug.
The tissue banks that chronic care facilities use to store these cells, however, are verified and overseen by the FDA.
What Does Treatment Look Like?
The procedure is relatively simple, especially compared to other pain management practices.
During an hour appointment, stem cells are directly injected into a specified site. The patient can go home directly afterward and usually do not need follow-up injections.
Costs for stem cell therapy are often not covered by insurance companies but could potentially be cheaper than deductibles for other treatment options.
How Do Stem Cells Work In The Body?
When our bodies are in pain, tissues in need of repair give off cytokines.
A class of signaling proteins, cytokines alert stem cells of damaged areas of the body and attract them. Stem cells then go to the injured area and trigger the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
Inflammation is targeted and decreased, and the regeneration of tissue is stimulated.
Advantages Of Stem Cell Therapy
Traditional medications are often seen as just masking pain whereas stem cell therapy is thought to be a long-term solution.
A more drastic approach such as surgery may be risky and not produce the desired results. Additionally, surgery would call for recovery time.
There is no recovery period for this stem cell therapy as the procedure only involves a small injection site.
Will It Work For Everyone?
Stem cell therapy is still a relatively new method that is being continually researched. The FDA is conducting clinical trials to find out how to improve and expand on the technique.
The approach is most effective with certain types of chronic pain. To see if stem cell therapy is right for you, research the different pain management options and get a consultation from a reputable chronic pain facility.