Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis
Stem Cells Provide a Nonsurgical Option for Osteoarthritis Treatment
Osteoarthritis is the most common chronic condition of the joints, affecting nearly 27 million Americans. Although osteoarthritis is often a result of aging, it can affect younger people after a joint injury.
What Is Osteoarthritis?
In healthy joints, a layer of cartilage provides cushioning and makes movement smooth. When that layer breaks down, you’re likely to experience swelling, pain and a reduced range of motion. As the layer further degenerates, pieces of cartilage and bone may break loose in the joint and cause more severe problems. Bones may eventually rub directly against each other, which can be extremely painful and damaging.
About half of all adults will develop osteoarthritis in their knees at some point, and 25 percent of all adults will have osteoarthritis in a hip by age 85. The neck, lower back, fingers and toes are also frequently affected by osteoarthritis.
What Therapies Are Available?
You might initially turn to physical therapy to reduce osteoarthritis pain and maintain range of motion. You may have the steroid cortisone injected into the affected joint to help lessen inflammation. Special exercises, rest, ice and even joint replacement surgery are also among the conventional treatments you might consider or try.
Many of these treatments are either highly invasive (surgery) or they treat only the symptoms of the cartilage degeneration, thereby providing only temporary relief.
On the other hand, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell therapy provide noninvasive, nonsurgical options that address the degeneration of the tissues themselves, often leading to longer lasting and more complete healing.
How Do Stem Cells Reverse the Effects of Osteoarthritis?
When stem cells are extracted from your bone marrow and adipose tissue, concentrated and injected into a joint affected by osteoarthritis, they may help your body grow new cartilage to cushion the joint. At the same time, their natural anti-inflammatory properties can help alleviate pain and swelling. An injection of PRP, concentrated from your own blood, can also help your body heal itself.
Whether old sports injuries are affecting your joints today or advanced age has led to pain and stiffness in your joints, stem cell and PRP therapies could help you return to a more active lifestyle.