For many, the term “stem cell” still has a charged connotation. People of a certain age are unlikely to hear about stem cells without thinking –– at least subconsciously –– of the controversies surrounding embryonic stem cell use in the 1990s and 2000s. Yet, the reality is that stem cell research has come a long way since then, and how medical professionals use stem cells today is markedly different than stem cell research carried out in the 1980s and 1990s. In fact, it is now possible for doctors to inspire stem cell disc regeneration to alleviate serious, chronic back pain with regularity and effectiveness. Here, we’ll take a quick look at how stem cell technology has changed over the years, and what that means for individuals suffering with back pain now:
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The Discovery of Stem Cells –– 1960s
Stem cells are a naturally occurring component of human biology. In that sense, they’ve been around forever. Stem cells are special cells within the body that have the ability to self-replicate and to develop tissue-specific functionality over time. Because of this, stem cells have been referred to as “master cells” or biological “building blocks.”
Scientists Ernest McCulloch and James Till were the first researchers to identify and characterize what we have eventually come to know as stem cells.
Embryonic Stem Cells –– 1980s & 90s
For a long time, researchers focused their efforts on embryonic stem cells. These stem cells appear naturally in a living organism’s embryo after conception, and these stem cells eventually can grow to form a variety of different tissue cells. The first stem cells were harvested from mouse embryos in 1981. Then in 1998, scientists first began to use human embryonic stem cells for research.
This however, presented a number of ethical and practical challenges. That is at least partially why medical professionals now use a different sort of stem cell in procedures ––adult stem cells.
Adult Stem Cells 2000s-Present
Stem cells found in many tissues are better known as “adult stem cells.” As opposed to embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells can be taken from a patient’s fat or bone-marrow tissue and reintroduced into other areas of the body to assist in tissue growth and regeneration.
This breakthrough in particular is responsible for innovative, modern stem cell treatments like stem cell disc regeneration.
Here’s a very abbreviated version of how stem cell disc regeneration works:
After years of wear and tear, the cartilagenous discs in between spinal vertebrae can begin to crack or split, causing disc degeneration or even bulging. (Needless to say, this is very painful.) To treat this issue, doctors can introduce adult stem cells to the affected area in order to regulate inflammation, reduce pain, and recruit the bodies cells to repair damaged discs, improve disc hydration and generate the growth of new disc tissue.
In contrast to traditional back surgeries, stem cell therapy has the potential to reduce pain and repair disc tissue without the trauma from invasive surgical methods. What’s more, modern stem cell therapy procedures are very safe. Because adult stem cells are autologous (taken from the patient’s own body) the risk of disease transmission due to the procedure is essentially null.
Stem cell therapy has become a more and more attractive option for individuals suffering from chronic back pain over the years. Not only can stem cell therapy deliver incredible results, but the procedure itself is straightforward and minimally invasive. If you would like to learn more about the procedure and its benefits, please contact our office here at ThriveMD. Our team thoroughly reviews the case histories of all our patients to determine the best treatment plans with the highest chances for success.