It seems like every time you turn on the news there is a new study about the value of stem cells.
New stem cell therapies are currently being developed to help cure diseases from cancer to diabetes, and we are just beginning to scratch the surface of what these amazing gems of the human body can do.
Here at Sandstone Health, we have seen amazing, regenerative, pain relieving results from patients who are experiencing everything from joint pain to arthritis to disc degeneration. Unfortunately, we also see a lot of misinformation out there about stem cell therapy, its origins and its effectiveness. That is why we wanted to address the three biggest concerns we hear regarding stem cell injections.
1. Where do the stem cells come from?
Stem cells are human cells that have the ability to turn into any type of cell in the human body.
When introduced via injections, stem cells can repair any damaged tissue from muscles to connective tissue like tendons or cartilage. While stem cells can exist in adult humans, the greatest concentration can be found in amniotic fluid, the placenta and umbilical cord blood.
These tissues, that would normally be discarded after a healthy birth are donated by consenting mothers for just this purpose. These tissues are harvested, tested for infection, sterilized, concentrated in a lab and then provided to skilled doctors who are specifically trained to perform stem cell injections.
2. Are stem cell injections safe?
Since stem cells are undifferentiated cells (meaning they haven’t decided what they want to be when they grow up), there is no risk your body will reject them once they are introduced.
Before we receive them, the stem cells we use are also sent to a third party who verifies their purity and concentration. This helps us ensure we deliver the highest quality product to our patients, giving them the best chance at experiencing a successful outcome. There are no side effects, no down time, and the injections can be completed in our office without anesthesia of any kind.
Keep in mind, while stem cell therapy for pain is relatively new, doctors have safely used stem cell treatments for bone and blood cancers for nearly a decade.
Only recently, scientists have begun to study how and why these cells are able to regenerate tissue where it is needed, not just in bone marrow, but in connective tissue as well.
Recently, a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic found that patients with two bad knees experienced marked improvement not only in the knee where the stem cells were injected, but in the knee where only a saline solution was injected. Researchers hypothesize this is because the stem cells travel via bone marrow to seek out damaged parts of the body, wherever they may be, not just in the affected area that is injected with stem cells.
3. Do stem cell injections hurt?
The injection typically only lasts about 10 seconds. While injections are never fun, any discomfort is only momentary. Most patients can go right back to their normal activities after their appointment.
Of course, this is not a comprehensive list of questions you probably have about stem cell injections. We would love to answer all of them. Give our office a call today or set up an appointment online and find out if stem cell therapy is right for you.