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Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell therapy is the latest and greatest in regenerative medicine and can be an effective back pain treatment. Adults have stem cells within certain areas of their bodies. These cells are undifferentiated (not specialized). When taken and placed into the right environment, they can specialize and become any cell within the body. The role of stem cells is to be available when the body needs to regenerate structures. However, they are found in very low concentrations.
By harvesting the cells and concentrating them, the treatment dramatically increases the number of stem cells delivered to the site of injury. The goal of injecting stem cells is to have them specialize into the specific cells, heal damaged cells and thus repair the injured structure. This can provide pain management and restoration to certain areas of the body.
What Conditions Do Stem Cells Treat?
The use of stem cell therapy has increased over the years to treat a variety of musculoskeletal injuries. These include the following:
- Chronic tendon injuries (tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, Achilles tendonosis, etc)
- Acute ligament injuries (ACL tears, rotator cuff tears)
- Acute muscle injuries (hamstring tears, bicep tears, etc)
- Osteoarthritis in joints (knee, shoulders, hip)
- Labral tears (shoulder, hip)
- Degenerative disc disease or low back pain
- Discogenic back pain due to annular tears
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Back pain due to degenerated or herniated discs
Soreness is the most common side effect during recovery after stem cell treatment. It can be treated with acetaminophen and should last no more than a week. While healing from this procedure, patients should abstain from heavy exertion. Even with soreness, most patients choose to return to work the next day, though some prefer to rest for a few days.
Stem cell treatments have been shown to have an 85 percent success rate. However, it may take some time to feel their effects. The conditions we treat with stem cells vary, so experiencing the full impact of the treatment differs from person to person. Some begin to feel relief after three weeks, but for others, it could take six to eight weeks. Continual improvement can be expected over six months. After the full effects of the treatment are experienced, some patients feel relief from painful symptoms for years.
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