Anyone who has had joint pain will tell you that it is no laughing matter. The limitations that joint pain can place on one’s daily life can vary from minor to severe. If left unchecked, many cases of joint pain will continue to progress into a condition known as osteoarthritis (OA). OA is the most common form of arthritis, affecting over 30 million people in the US; it is the leading cause of disability among US adults. According to recent estimates, 1 in 2 people will develop OA of the knee during their lifetime; in obese patients, this risk rises to 2 in 3!!!
For many patients, the pain is secondary to the limitations it puts on their activities. For sufferers of joint pain, simple activities like taking a walk, playing with children, or household chores become torturous. The result is people simply refrain from doing things that bring them joy and fulfillment. When asked about joint pain, most people brush it off and joke about getting older, while the cumulative effects create psychological distress and barriers to fully enjoying life.
In healthy human joints, there is padding between where the bones connect called cartilage. In joints affected by OA, this cartilage degenerates resulting in pain, swelling, and stiffness. OA is often the result of over-using or misusing a specific joint. The joint will begin to degrade faster than it can be repaired. Over a chunk of time, this joint destruction progresses resulting in the symptoms described above.
Many patients suffering from OA turn to arthroplasty (joint replacement surgery) once conservative measures have been exhausted. In a study published in 2017, 47% of arthroplasty patients experienced an adverse event. These events ranged from prolonged pain and swelling, to lethal blood clots and infections. In a 2018 study published in the American Journal of orthopedics, it was found that 1 in 40 patients who received a total shoulder replacement operation were readmitted to the hospital for pneumonia, dislocation, pulmonary embolism, and surgery site infection. While it is generally considered to be ‘safe’, 1 in 200 patients who receive a knee replacement die within 90 days of the operation.
Why stem cells now?
Stem cell injections offer a safer and more cost efficient alternative to expensive, risky surgeries. The average cost for a total knee replacement in the US is almost $50,000! Even when factoring in insurance, patients should expect to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket. The cost only rises if you factor in pre-existing conditions or unexpected events prolonging your hospital stay. This cost does not include any necessary physical therapy, in home care, or safety bars, shower benches and other home modifications, let alone the pain and suffering from recovery!
The research around stem cell injections for joint pain is very promising. Numerous studies have shown improvements in function and decreased pain at follow-up (additional study).There are many studies that also demonstrate cartilage regeneration and repair. As amazing as the research and evidence may be, the testimonials and stories of patients receiving these injections are groundbreaking.
Stem cells are a type of regenerative medicine because they serve to literally regrow lost human tissue. When mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are injected into a joint, they have the special ability to determine what type of cells are needed to repair the joint, and then become that type of cell. This is possible because stem cells are the precursors to all other types of cells. These stem cells exist in all of us at high levels when we are younger, and slowly decrease as we age. By injecting high concentrations of MSC’s into problem areas, we are giving the body more raw material to use to repair itself.
Every cell in our body is assigned a specific role, but stem cells have not yet been assigned one of these roles. This gives them the unique ability to modify themselves to become the cell type that is most needed in their environment.
Stem cells have been studied ever since they were first isolated in mice embryos in 1981. Controversy caused the US federal government to limit spending on this type of research in 2001. Improved methods of deriving these cells discovered in 2006 negated the need to destroy human embryos to study them. Thanks to modern collection and cultivation practices, there is no longer any question of ethics when using this technology.
In our office, we use umbilical cord derived stem cells. When an infant is born, the umbilical cord is rich with stem cells that can be stored for later use. These stem cells are more economical and are collected by noncontroversial means. We only use stem cells sourced from umbilical tissue of voluntary donors.
Once the stem cell injection has been performed, the joint begins to repair itself with the newly injected building blocks. The underlying issues that led the joint to degrade in the first place are still in place however. The injection will not instantly correct your posture. In order for the stem cell injection be the most effective, these issues must be addressed.
At Red Tail Wellness Center, we use chiropractic coupled with trigenics myoneural technique to give each stem cell injection the best chance for success. Our doctors utilize innovative structural care to correct any issues with the biomechanics of the affected joints. If a house is built on a poor foundation is it not reasonable to expect that house to break down faster? Many clinics simply offer one stem cell injection, and cross their fingers to hope it works. We work with our patients for weeks after the injection, to ensure that the muscles surrounding that joint are working appropriately, and to create an optimal environment for the joint to regenerate. This may also include cold laser, pulsed electromagnetic therapy and traction if necessary. Every case is unique and we treat each person like a human being, not a number!
We are uniquely positioned to offer these stem cell injections with top of the line structural care, resulting in effective, lasting relief from joint pain. Stop letting joint pain rob the joy from your life and come Let Your Health Soar!