14 Jul How Is Regenerative Medicine Being Used to Treat Chronic Pain and Other Conditions?
Not to be mistaken for acute pain – a normal sensation triggered by the nervous system which makes you aware of possible injury – chronic pain is pain that persists. In the event of acute pain, the sensations will eventually halt as the injury heals and the pain subsides. However, in chronic pain, the pain signals continue to fire in the nervous system for weeks, months, and possibly even years to come.
Chronic pain might have an initial reason for onset such as infection, serious sprain, arthritis, or cancer, among others. The most common group of people affected by chronic pain is older adults. Common complaints of chronic pain include complaints of lower back pain, arthritis pain, headaches, cancer pain, and nerve pain. Currently, around 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain – which is more than are suffering from cancer, diabetes, stroke, or coronary heart disease.
What is regenerative medicine?
Regenerative medicine is a promising field which works to restore function and structure to damaged organs or specific tissues. This specific field is also currently working on solutions for organs that are permanently damaged.
While there are several pain procedures and prescribed medications, regenerative medicine aims to find a minimally invasive and much safer and long-term treatment option for those suffering from chronic pain. The ultimate goal of regenerative medicine is to repair injuries and diseases which were previously untreatable.
Three of the main concentrations of regenerative medicine include:
- Cellular therapies
- Biomaterials and tissue engineering
- Artificial organs and medical devices
When the body is damaged, such as when it has arthritis in a joint, and healthy cells are destroyed, an urgent need for new cells is presented. These cells may come from one’s bone marrow, adipose tissue or an external source.
Thanks to stem cells, these required cells can be harvested directly from the patient. Stem cells are “blank slates” which are used for repairing the body. During cellular therapy, the stem cells can simply be harvested from the patient and injected back into the affected area. This can be used to relieve chronic pain such as back pain or knee pain.
At Regenerative Stem Cell Institute, the Board Certified physicians offer stem cell therapy at several Chicago area locations under an IRB Approved protocol which has shown success for many conditions including arthritis, sports injuries, COPD, kidney disease, erectile dysfunction and more!
Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering
While giving a patient a new heart is an option, there is no promise that the body will not eventually – even immediately – reject the foreign organ, therefore, rendering it worthless. However, regenerative medicine has successfully grown heart valves from human cells with the use of biomaterials. This allows patients to receive a heart valve which is essentially their own.
While this is quite a ways from clinical use, there are some fascinating studies underway at centers such as Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Artificial Organs and Medical Devices
As a way to improve the quality of life for patients all over the world suffering from debilitating birth defects – such as spina bifida – regenerative medicine has worked with powerful technology to create new body parts from a patient’s tissues and cells. This can be beneficial for someone needing an organ, as it can eliminate the possibility of their body rejecting it. The organ is simply grown in the lab and then transplanted into the patient via surgery.
With regards to what is currently available, The Regenerative Stem Cell Institute offers adipose derived stem cell treatments for many conditions. Call us today to schedule a free consultation!