Regenerative medicine is a booming field, propelled further as athletes and other celebrities begin taking advantage. Many people are aware that platelet rich plasma and stem cells have been put to use to treat many conditions, such as joint pain, tendon issues, and even plastic surgery.
Stem cells are the more expensive than plasma, and you will have to undergo a harvest procedure in order to gather them. Other options when it comes to regenerative therapy include ozone and prolotherapy. The many different price levels and options mean it is important to make an informed choice. I have used different techniques using regenerative medicine over my decade of experience in practice.
What is available when it comes to studies showing how stem cells can help knee, foot, and ankle pain? Unfortunately, there are not very many good studies confirming the benefit of this treatment because of the difficulty that comes with testing how they work in an independent environment. Add to that the fact that some unscrupulous doctors only get involved in the field with the hopes of making large amounts of money quickly. Additionally, the training and knowledge in the use of the products usually comes from a representative from the company producing the treatment, and their goal is always to sell products. So, does that mean that this trend is driven solely by money?
How are stem cells used to treat injuries? Again, there is a lack of knowledge on exactly how stem cells work. Scientists have learned that a stem cell possesses the ability to convert itself into nearly any type of tissue in the body, as that is their function naturally. However, when removed from bone marrow or fat, it is not clear if the stem cells are active and if they definitely help when injected directly into an injured joint or tendon. This is because these stem cells are moved from a particular area of the body and placed in a different one. They may not be in an environment that directs them on which tissue they should become.
For example, let’s look at a joint. Joints do not have any fat or bone marrow within them, however, stem cells are placed there from another location. We need to find a way to cause them to be there in a natural way. Read on to learn how that can occur.
How Safe Is It? Removing stem cells from the body is an invasive procedure, so it does carry some risk. And unfortunately, nobody really knows for sure how safe the process of moving stem cells from one part of the body to another is. Does it work? Can it cause harmful side effects? Nobody knows for sure yet. The process is still early in development, so the research just doesn’t exist yet. Many products used in this process have been approved by the FDA, however, they have approved harmful drugs before as well. I think that it will simply take time until there is enough research available to reach a definitive answer.
However, stem cells may very well be the key to curing knee, foot, and ankle pain. So how can somebody start to reap the benefits of using stem cells? I think the best way is to use other types of Regenerative Medicine, ones that have been in use for a while and therefore have scientific studies backing them up.
Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP), has been proven to be a good way to deliver stem cells from your own body to the area that has been injured, and it works in a natural and safe manner. There is a great deal of research that shows the effectiveness of Platelet-rich Plasma. Stem cells that come from your body’s store of them know where they need to go and what needs to be repaired. That means you don’t need to remove them and inject them into the site of the injury. Platelet-rich Plasma naturally does it. It also contains growth factors and molecules that signal the stem cells, directing them to the injured tendon, ligament, joint, or muscle. When they get to the location of the injury, they are able to become that type of tissue rapidly, starting the healing process quickly.
How about ozone and prolotherapy? These treatments are a safe way of triggering the natural healing response of the body to attract stem cells and growth factors to the injured area in need of healing. They are a safe treatment and a great choice as a first line of therapy.