Stem cell therapy is one of the most well-known and high-profile forms of medical treatment. For decades, medical researchers have used stem cell therapy to treat a myriad of conditions. However, stem cell therapy is growing in popularity and accessibility. As a result, more and more people may wonder if stem cell therapy is right for them. Specifically, using stem cell therapy for back pain can be a viable option for individuals in certain circumstances. Here, we’ll take a closer look at stem cell therapy explain how the process actually works:
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Modern Stem Cell Therapy
One of the first applications of stem cells was to treat blood diseases through a stem cell transplant. Cancer treatment can damage your hematopoietic stem cells (the stem cells that turn into blood cells). Since your body relies on red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, the loss of hematopoietic stem cells can be dangerous. Through a stem cell transplant, a doctor would replace your bone marrow with healthy stem cells from your own body or from a donor. Then these healthy cells would restore your body’s ability to make the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets that you need.
While physicians today still use stem cells in transplants to treat blood diseases, they are also using Adult stem cells for stem cell therapy, to help repair and regenerate tissue that has deteriorated in other parts of the body. Whether due to chronic or acute injury, disease, and/or the natural aging process, the human body weakens over time; as the progenitor of most (and sometimes all) cell types, stem cells have the potential to replace damaged cells and restore function and mobility to areas that have previously been decayed. One of the most common ways stem cells are now being used is to treat the degeneration of the discs in the back.
There’s no denying that it’s an exciting time for doctors and their patients alike; but it’s not a time without complications. With any new advancement in science and medicine comes misconception. People (scientists included!) can assume too much or too little and confuse ideal or realistic outcomes in the absence of historical evidence. Only time can solidify theory. With regard to using stem cells for back pain, for instance, patients often expect that their procedure will mimic that of a bone marrow transplant, with a donor supplying the stem cells, a period of weakened immunity, and a long recovery. In fact, their expectations are nearly always wrong. Here’s what really happens when you receive a therapy using stem cells to treat back pain:
Using Stem Cell Therapy for Back Pain
Unlike a bone marrow transplant, stem cell therapy to treat back pain is minimally invasive. The procedure is performed in an office based procedure suite (rather than a hospital), and does not require general anesthesia. Also, in contrast to many other types of stem cell transplants, our stem cell procedures for back pain here at ThriveMD do not involve allogeneic stem cell donation and don’t require the suppression of the immune system to encourage engraftment.
We harvest stem cells from adipose (fat) tissue. We also extract bone marrow stem cells from the iliac crest using image guided needle extraction and additionally, create platelet-rich plasma with blood components taken with a standard blood draw. We consolidate each of these aspirates into an appropriate volume for the targeted anatomy to be treated. We then inject the regenerative compounds back into the patient’s body at the site of the damaged tissue using live x-ray (fluoroscopic) guidance. Patients walk out of the office within three or four hours of their arrival, recover at home, and usually return to work within one or two days! Pain relief can commence in as little as two-to-12 weeks. Additional improvement can be seen up to one year post treatment.
Want to Learn More?
The only way to be fully informed about stem cell therapy is to talk to a skilled physician. Our medical director, Dr. Scott Brandt, has 30 years of clinical experience and is an expert in interventional pain medicine. If you would like to know if your back pain could be treated with stem cell therapy, contact our office so that we can thoroughly review your history and needs.
If you believe you or someone you care about could be a candidate for stem cell therapy administered by a trusted clinic, please contact us today.