There’s a good chance you’ve heard about stem cells in the news, but do you know about their benefits and how they may be able to help you find relief from chronic pain or a serious condition? Before we dive into the details, defining what stem cells are is imperative. Stem cells are essentially the cells from which all other cells in the body that have specialized functions are generated. There are more than 200 different kinds of tissue in the body that stem cells can be obtained from. They are naturally occurring materials in the body that can be used to treat a wide range of concerns.
The idea behind this guide is to help you, the patient, understand what stem cell therapy is and what some of its many benefits are. Stem cell therapy can help individuals suffering from arthritis, chronic back and neck pain, and many other conditions. Our team of Dallas stem cell therapy experts are here to answer any questions you may have and help you understand if stem cell therapy may be the right form of treatment for your needs. Let’s now get to some of the most commonly asked questions about stem cell therapy.
What Are Stem Cells?
Stem cell research is the study of the different types of stem cells and how they may be of benefit. Those in support of stem cell research believe in the benefits and often try to erase any confusion or misconceptions surrounding stem cells.
Stem cell therapy is also referred to as regenerative medicine, as it focuses on the repair response of damaged or diseased tissue using stem cells and growth factors within the person’s own body. Once these stem cells are harvested from the patient, they are then re-injected into a person. The aim of this form of therapy is to help the injured body part repair itself.
Does Stem Cell Therapy Really Work?
The main goal of stem cells is to develop healthy cells to replace those affected by a disease, also referred to as regenerative medicine. Thanks to advancements in modern medicine, stem cells have been successfully used to regenerate and repair damaged tissues in the human body. The strides taken in the name of modern medicine and providing patients with effective forms of therapy should not be overlooked.
Where Do Stem Cells Come From?
As mentioned briefly earlier in the guide, stem cells can come from several different sources, including:
- Embryonic stem cells – These types of stem cells are harvested from embryos that are between three and five days old. When they are this age, there are approximately 150 cells in the embryo, which is called a blastocyst. While embryonic stem cells are somewhat controversial, they also carry many benefits and can regenerate or repair damaged tissues and organs. Due to FDA regulations, this form of Stem Cell therapy is not compliant in the U.S.
- Adult stem cells – These stem cells can be found in most tissues in the human body, including bone marrow. In comparison to embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells are limited in their abilities. Researchers recently learned that adult stem cells can actually create different types of cells, not just the same. For example, bone marrow stem cells do not only create bone marrow cells, but they can also generate bone or even heart muscle cells.
- Perinatal stem cells – These are the stem cells found in amniotic fluid and umbilical cord blood. Researchers have learned that these specific stem cells can turn into specialized cells, providing countless benefits. Due to FDA regulations, this form of Stem Cell therapy is not compliant in the U.S.
It is important to understand that there is a difference between embryonic and adult stem cells, specifically that there are a lot of regulations in the U.S. regarding stem cells and how they can and can’t be used. This is why knowing where stem cells come from is very important in receiving stem cell therapy. To learn more about the FDA guidelines, click here to learn more.
Who Benefits from Stem Cell Therapy?
There are many different individuals who may benefit from stem cell therapy, including those suffering from many different conditions and living with chronic pain. Beyond encouraging the body’s natural healing process and replacing damaged or degenerative cells, stem cells can do the following:
- Reduce the recovery time from injuries or wounds
- Reduce or eliminate pain altogether
- Such as chronic joint pain
- Increase range of motion, flexibility, quality of sleep, and overall functionality
- Decrease nerve damage and other related problems
- Reduce muscle issues
- Increase collagen production
- Generate healthy heart and blood vessel tissue
- Heal skin wounds
- Reduce hair loss
- Prevent scar tissue from forming
- Help patients return to their normal day-to-day activities as soon as possible
Is Stem Cell Therapy Safe?
Stem cell therapy has been shown to be beneficial for numerous diseases and conditions, however, we still have a lot to learn. When choosing a regenerative medicine therapy, it is important to know where the product is coming from. That being said, the majority of stem cell therapies that use adult stem cells are considered safe because the stem cells are collected from the patient, eliminating any potential for a negative reaction. When it comes to conditions like arthritis or low back pain, stem cell therapy has been quite effective. Research about stem cell therapy, its effectiveness, and the conditions it can treat is ongoing, as it is with most types of regenerative medicine treatments.
Does Stem Cell Therapy Work for Lower Back Pain?
It is estimated that around 31 million Americans suffer from low back pain at one time or another. Furthermore, back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide. While there are numerous different types of medications and treatments out there aimed at treating back pain, most of these simply mask the symptoms, rather than actually treat the underlying problem. This is where stem cell therapy comes in. According to early studies, harvesting a patient’s own bone marrow for stem cells and then re-injecting them can actually alleviate back pain associated with damaged or worn out discs in the spine.
In some of the initial studies, patients who have undergone stem cell therapy for low back pain saw an improvement, and none reported that their pain worsened following the treatment. It has been most effective in patients suffering from chronic low back pain that stems from degeneration or damage to the discs that are in between the bones of the spine.
What Diseases Can Be Treated with Stem Cells?
Stem cell therapy has been proven effective in treating knee pain related to osteoarthritis, tennis elbow, shoulder pain, rotator cuff injuries, tendonitis, Achilles tendon injuries, and chronic low back pain. The more we learn about their incredible ability to help with regrowth and regeneration, the more we can expect to see stem cell therapy become far more mainstream and accepted throughout the world. This is a type of treatment that we are continuing to learn more and more about, especially in regards to the following:
- Treating orthopedic injuries
- Addressing common musculoskeletal concerns
- Treating spinal cord injuries and brain trauma
- Helping patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases, such as hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, and congestive heart failure
- Helping with hair loss
- Helping with vision impairment
- Addressing concerns related to diabetes and pancreatic dysfunctions
- Treating neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis
What Are the Side Effects of Stem Cell Therapy?
Just like with any form of medicine or type of therapy, there are some side effects that stem cell treatment may come with. At Texas Partners Healthcare Group, we harvest stem cells from the patient’s own bone marrow. The most common side effects linked to Bone Marrow Harvesting Stem Cells includes:
- Mild discomfort at harvest site
- Mild discomfort post injection
- Bruising at harvest site
If you would like to learn more about these side effects, or if you have any specific questions about the side effects of stem cell therapy that have not been addressed, please do not hesitate to contact us. It is our goal to ensure you understand everything there is to know about stem cell therapy in order to help you make an informed decision as to whether or not this treatment is right for you.
How Long Do Stem Cells Last?
The longevity of stem cells will depend on a host of factors, including harvesting technique and the patient’s age and health. While researchers used to believe that stem cells were immortal, continuously self-renewing and generating new stem cells that could even live after the person was deceased, new studies have shown that stem cells are pre-programmed to self-renew for a specific amount of time, ranging from several months to a handful of years. The specific lifespan of stem cells varies, and studies continue to provide us with new, beneficial information about their longevity. This is why following pre and post procedure instructions are very important to the effectiveness of the therapy.
At Texas Partners Healthcare Group, we believe in the benefits of stem cell therapy and are dedicated to helping our patients understand how they may be able to find relief. As a Dallas stem cell therapy provider, it is our number one priority to work closely with our patients to ensure they find the right treatments for their needs. Stem cell therapy is a relatively new form of regenerative medicine that we are excited to offer at all of our locations. We rely on stem cell therapy to regrow tissue, giving individuals an alternative to joint replacement surgery. From helping heal orthopedic injuries and connective tissue damage to heart disease and neurological problems, stem cell therapy has benefited humankind in many different ways. If you have additional questions about the healing properties of stem cells or would like to learn more about this service, please do not hesitate to contact Texas Partners Healthcare Group today.