Can Stem Cell Therapy Help With Knee Pain?
Whether the result of overuse, an injury, or a disease such as arthritis, knee pain can severely limit your everyday life. It can leave you unable to take part in all of the activities that you used to be able to do and it can be very painful. Some treatments for knee pain, such as surgery, can be quite difficult to recover from, but there are other options out there that can help to treat knee problems that don't require such extreme measures. An emerging area of treatment for knee pain is stem cell therapy.
What is stem cell therapy?
Stem cells are human cells that are found in embryos, bone marrow, or fatty tissue that are able to become all of the different types of cells that make up the tissues and organs throughout the body. There are two types of stem cells: embryonic and adult. Adult stem cells have usually already become specialized, so it used to be thought that they could no longer be used to make cells that can become other types of tissue. Recent research has shown that this is not the case, however. Adult stem cells are still capable of differentiating into different types of cells.
Stem cell therapy uses stem cells to regrow tissue that has become damaged through injury or disease, and they can also help to stimulate surrounding cells to grow new healthy tissue through the release of growth factors.
Can stem cell therapy help with knee pain?
Knee pain can be the result of a variety of issues. Some of them can be quite minor and can get better fairly quickly with some rest. Other types of knee problems, however, can be longer-lasting or even degenerative (get worse over time). The first line of treatment is often medications such as anti-inflammatory and painkiller medications, and as a last resort, knee replacement surgery can sometimes be needed. Stem cell therapy can be a treatment that can delay the need for more invasive treatments, or prevent their need altogether.
Common causes of knee pain
* sprains and strains
* torn ligament or tendon
* dislocated knee cap
Stem cell therapy of this kind is usually performed by harvesting the patient's own bone marrow or fatty tissue. This is then treated to extract mesenchymal stem cells. These stem cells are injected directly into the knee joint where they are able to aid in the healing process.
Many patients who receive this treatment report:
* improvement of mobility
* a reduction of pain by up to 75%
* a reduction of swelling
* an improvement in the condition of their joint cartilage
* reduced joint stiffness
* reduced need for medications
Stem cell therapy may not work for all patients, and it may not completely cure all of the conditions that can cause knee pain, but for those it does help there is a marked increase in their ability to live comfortably.
Stem cell therapy as a treatment for knee pain is an emerging treatment that is showing great promise in reducing patients' pain and increasing their mobility. It can also reduce the need for medications and delay, or prevent, the need for knee surgery.