In our quest to provide the best possible treatment to our patients, we have embraced the latest technology surrounding stem cell therapy. Right Path Pain & Spine Centers is committed to delivering the most effective medicine, and we are convinced that you will be amazed when you see the results. If the thought of stem cells has you wary, we know you’ll change your mind when you see the incredible benefits they have to offer.
We want to share five of the biggest benefits that stem cell research has brought to medicine in recent years. As this technology has matured, more and more opportunities are available.
What Are the Advantages of Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem cell treatment has evolved significantly in the past decade. Not only are stem cell treatments some of the safest you can receive, but they can now resolve a great number of issues that were previously untreatable. You can replace surgical options and recover faster, all while avoiding the ethical issues that plagued the therapy method in years past.
1. Safe Autologous Therapy
The doctors’ creed is to do no harm, and stem cells make that more possible than ever. Surgical procedures by their nature are destructive. Tissue must be lost in order to achieve a successful result. Stem cells, on the other hand, are regenerative.
You can avoid the risks of surgical interventions by using stem cells. Surgery is rife with complications, as many victims of malpractice can attest. In addition, there is a risk of infection, and if the procedure fails, additional surgery may be required. Risks associated with anesthesia are also removed with stem cells.
Best of all, stem cells are harvested from your own body and redeployed where they are needed. Because they come from your body, we refer to this as an autologous therapy. Autologous therapies are the safest around, since there is no risk of donor material rejection.
2. Ethically Responsible Treatment
Oftentimes we recommend stem cell therapy only to see our patients’ eyebrows raise in scrutiny. Embryonic stem cells once dominated the news cycle, and federally-funded research on them was banned back in 2001. However, these stem cells were different from the ones used in our practice today.
How Stem Cells Used to Work
Early stem cell research was centered around the use of embryonic stem cell lines. Embryos contain large quantities of pluripotent stem cells, which can be transformed into nearly any kind of tissue. While these showed great promise for a number of health problems, they were also highly controversial. Embryos had to be destroyed in order to retrieve the cells, which many saw as equivalent to taking a life.
This forced scientists to look for new alternatives, and though they had previously argued that embryonic stem cells had capacities that adult stem cells had entirely lost, after the 2001 ban they were forced to admit to being wrong. Adult stem cells actually retain much of their ability to become whatever cells your body needs. Today’s stem cell treatments do not involve the use of embryos and are instead being derived from your own body. They are completely ethical and safe to use.
Mesenchymal Stem Cells
We employ mesenchymal stem cells or MSCs. MSCs can be found in your bone marrow and in fatty tissues. Although they are not pluripotent, they are still considered multipotent. Multipotent stem cells can transform into several different kinds of cells, including bone, cartilage, muscle, and fat cells.
MSCs also stimulate the nearby cells by releasing growth factors, which tell healthy cells to divide and also mark damaged cells for removal. This means that we can harvest them from your tissue and inject them into a damaged area. The area will improve over time as the MSCs multiply and influence the other cells at the site.
3. Stem Cells Bring Versatility
What’s great about stem cells is that they can be used for a wide number of applications. That number continues to grow as medical studies return with promising results. Even now, many of the applications of stem cells are becoming more efficient as doctors discover new ways to maximize their benefits.
Here are just some of the conditions that stem cells can help to alleviate:
Ligaments are notoriously difficult to treat. Options are either to undergo surgery or simply rest as long as possible. Due to their location, they tend not to get a lot of blood flow, which is important for healing.
Injecting stem cells into the area surrounding the damaged ligament can speed up recovery significantly. This has been widely documented in sports medicine. Teams are constantly on the lookout for ways to get their stars back on the field faster. Major players like Alex Rodriguez have received this type of treatment and extended their careers as a result.
Arthritis has always proved difficult to treat since cartilage does not normally renew itself when damaged. Palliative care that focuses on the symptoms is the usual recommendation, however stem cells are looking to change that. Applying stem cells to joints regenerates cartilage and reduces pain by stopping inflammation.
Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis have both been shown to improve after stem cell therapy. Patients have reported amazing results, going from being unable to jog to returning to sports even at an advanced age.
Nerve Injuries and Disorders
Like joint damage, nerve damage has always been difficult to repair. Even when nerves are reattached after an accident, scar tissue impedes the transfer of signals from the brain. This can result in chronic pain and poor motor function. Nowhere are the effects of nerve damage more evident than in spinal cord injuries, which leave many people permanently disabled.
Similarly, nervous system diseases affect millions of people. Many of these disorders are congenital and degenerative, meaning the prognosis is usually bleak. However, promising results have been seen with stem cell treatments. Degeneration can be slowed down or even reversed, prolonging a patients’ life and improving their quality of life significantly.
Spinal Disc Problems
The discs between vertebrae can lead to serious problems if they begin to deform. Bulging and herniated discs tend to press on nearby nerves, which can have a variety of uncomfortable effects on your body. Similar to joints, the options have usually been surgery or patience. Yet again, stem cells are proving to be a valuable solution.
The Mayo Clinic reviewed a number of studies in 2015 and found that using MSCs was a safe and effective treatment for disc problems. Since then, the treatment has continued to improve and is now becoming the first line of defense. The treatment was experimental back in 2011 when star quarterback Peyton Manning underwent it, but now it has become standard practice.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a growing concern among medical professionals, as it affects nearly 400 million people worldwide. It’s expected to become one of the leading causes of death in the coming decade. Doctors and scientists are getting ahead of the problem by focusing on MSC treatment.
While these applications are still relatively new, they show promising results. The cells inside the lungs can be regenerated, and decay can be stalled.
Muscle tears and long-term muscle damage are difficult to treat. Like ligament problems, the usual recommendation is to rest and avoid using the muscle. However, many patients find it difficult to adhere to these orders. Life goes on, and so should you.
MSCs can restore damaged muscle tissue and strengthen existing tissue. These therapies work especially well when combined with platelet-rich plasma therapy, another service that Right Path proudly promotes.
4. Faster Treatment and Recovery
Another advantage of stem cell therapy is how easy it is to administer. Stem cells must first be harvested, and the two primary options are to extract them from bone marrow or fat tissue. This process doesn’t add much time to the overall therapy.
Bone marrow extractions usually occur on the hip or femur, where large bones rich in MSCs can be found. However, fat tissue extraction is quickly becoming preferred as it can be done quickly and the process is less invasive. A simple incision and short liposuction can provide enough stem cells to use in the therapy. With the cells gathered, they can then be applied.
Treatment time is greatly reduced compared to surgical options. Surgery can take several hours, and you will need to be prepared for surgery beforehand. On the other hand, stem cell applications can take as little as half an hour!
The cells are injected into the treatment area. Some local anesthetic is applied first to ensure you feel no pain from the injection. You’ll spend more time waiting for the anesthetic to work than actually receiving the therapy.
Saving time before and during the treatment is nice, but even better is saving time after. Surgical recovery times can be measured in months, while stem cell therapy has essentially no recovery time at all. You can walk out of the clinic within moments and be on your way home in time for dinner. Skip the costly hospital stays and post-op medications.
After the treatment, you should start to see improvements within the next few weeks. The benefits from stem cells accumulate over time, with patients seeing improvement as the year progresses. Some even notice further improvements in the second year. A follow-up treatment can enhance this even more.
5. Healthier Treatment
Ultimately we want to provide the highest quality treatment that has the most benefits for your health. Stem cells have been proven to do precisely that, and their efficacy is only going to grow. There are several reasons why stem cell treatment is a healthier alternative.
Less Dependence on Medication
Chronic pain caused by the conditions we treat is routinely dealt with using medication. Excessive prescription of opiates to relieve pain has tragically cost many individuals their lives due to addiction. Medication doesn’t cure, it only makes problems easier to ignore. We don’t see this as a sustainable way to solve your problems.
Less Invasive Treatment
Without the risks of surgery and the damage that it causes, you can recover naturally using your body’s own mechanisms. Utilizing your natural healing processes is clearly better than surgical intervention, which is why we always consider surgery as a last resort. No one denies that surgery works, but it should not be the first line of defense.
While stem cell treatment is not often covered by insurers, it can still be far less expensive than surgery with insurance. You also save by not having to pay for costly prescriptions. Even with repeat treatments, stem cells are still a more affordable option.
Ask Us About Stem Cell Treatment
If you would like to learn more about our stem cell treatment options, call Right Path Pain & Spine Centers of Davenport, Florida today. We can answer your questions and help determine if you are a candidate for these incredible new therapies.