11 Dec Stem Cell Therapy Could Revolutionize Arthritis Care
We’ve all heard our bones crack and creak when we’ve stood up after a long time lying on the couch. As we age this becomes more and more pronounced, and many of us find our knees start to become painful. For almost 1 in 10 Americans, this is a chronic and painful condition known as osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative arthritis is a significant cause of morbidity in the American population as it is painful, can reduce movement and is a chronic and unrelenting condition. Medical therapies are currently unsatisfactory and many opt for risky surgery that does not always leave the patient pain free. But some clinics in the United States are breaking out of this mold and trying new and exciting therapies. These specialist clinics are experimenting with the power of bone marrow-derived stem cell injections to ease the burden of arthritis.
What is arthritis? What joints does arthritis affect?
Osteoarthritis is often referred to as wear and tear or degenerative arthritis. This disease is caused by the wearing down of the protective layer inside your joints. All bones are covered by cartilage, a soft spongy material that stops bone on bone contact. But over time this begins to wear down, allowing joint fluid under the cartilage surface. As the surface breaks down bone on bone contact occurs, often resulting in the outgrowth of bony spurs. This is an incredibly painful process and leads to pain and reduced range of movement in the joints. Arthritis can affect a number of joints including:
- Knees (these are the two most commonly affected joints – with hip and knee replacements being two of the most common surgeries done in the USA each year).
- The small joints of your hands
- The small joints of your feet
- Rarely, it may affect the shoulder or the elbows
What is bone marrow-derived stem cell therapy? Does it work?
Bone marrow is one of the only places in the human body with an abundance of stem cells. Stem cells are effectively young, immature cells that can grow up to anything they want to be (if pushed in the right direction). Harvesting these stem cells from the bones of patients and then injected them into arthritic knees is being trialed at various locations across the USA and shows a lot of promise.
But why would this improve your arthritis? Well, these stem cells have regenerative properties and are thought to help repair some of the damaged cartilage found in arthritic knees. Whilst major studies are still ongoing, early results are positive.
If medical care has currently failed to treat your wear and tear arthritis, and the thought of major surgery doesn’t appeal to you just yet, then consider getting in contact with a specialist stem cell clinic who can offer you a range of different injections that may help to reduce pain and get you back on your feet.