Stem cell therapy is a term often misused to describe any treatment containing stem cells. Regenerative medicine that contains stem cells and growth factors may be a very good treatment option if you suffer from issues like back pain, knee pain, and similar chronic or degenerative conditions. You've likely heard of stem cell treatments as a possible solution with lasting benefits. Stem cells have received a lot of media attention in recent years. Much of the attention can confuse even the most knowledgeable and well-informed patients.
If you want to feel better while avoiding surgery and drugs, call us today to learn more about regenerative medicine. We are Houston's leading stem cell clinic and our doctors take the time to explain the pros and cons of stem cell therapy and the other options available to you.
Stem Cell Basics
Stem cells refer to undifferentiated cells that can reproduce or renew themselves through cell division. They are the raw materials of the body. These "mother cells" are where all other cells that have specialized functions are generated. Stem cells can divide into what are known as "daughter cells." This can happen under the proper conditions inside the body or in a laboratory.
From there, the daughter cells can become new stem cells, which is called self-renewal. They also can become specialized cells, which is a process called differentiation. The specialized cells created through differentiation have a more specific function within the body. These can become brain cells, heart muscle cells, or blood cells. Stem cells are the only cells in the human body capable of generating new cell types.
What Are Mesenchymal Stem Cells
Mesenchymal stem cells are cells harvested from the Wharton's Jelly of the umbilical cord on the day of birth. These cells are incredibly effective because they are young, healthy cells ready to help your body recover from pain or illness. The harvesting of these cells has no negative impact on the baby or the mother. Both are checked and monitored throughout the pregnancy to ensure the health of all involved. There is virtually no chance of rejection or adverse reaction with this type of regenerative treatment that contains stem cells.
As we age, our body's own stem cells age with us. Therefore, they lose much of the ability to rapidly multiply and heal us from injury or help us fight disease. Mesenchymal stem cells are young and healthy and do a much better job at helping our body's heal themselves. For the sake of illustration, think about how much more quickly a baby or a young person heals than do we as older people. This is because the young have a much larger number of young, healthy stem cells protecting them. At our stem cell clinic, we ensure the highest quality stem cells. We do this by testing every sample before administering it to our patients.
Is Stem Cell Therapy Painful?
There are types of stem cell therapy that can be painful. This does not include the regenerative treatments containing natural growth factors and stem cells that we administer - remember that these are not actually stem cell therapy. Bone marrow transplants are said to be the most painful type of stem cell treatments. In this type of treatment, the doctor harvests some of the patients bone marrow. This is done by drilling a hole in the hip and extracting some marrow. The stem cells are then harvested from that marrow and re-introduced to the body.
There are several reasons that we feel mesenchymal stem cells are better than bone marrow transplants. First, as mentioned earlier, as we age our stem cells age and may become less effective. Therefore the treatment is not likely to be as effective as using younger, healthier cells. And, second, with mesenchymal stem cells there is no painful harvesting of tissue. We feel that it's more effective and more comfortable for you, our patient.
What Results Can I Expect From Regenerative Cell Therapy?
Regenerative cell therapy encourages the repair response of injured, diseased, or dysfunctional tissue using stem cells or stem cell derivatives. Also known as regenerative medicine, it has the potential to treat a wide range of health conditions.
For spinal injuries and joint conditions like osteoarthritis, injections containing stem cell and growth factors can reduce inflammation, support soft tissue repair, and minimize the formation of scars. When combined with complementary therapies, regenerative cell therapy for pain relief can have profound results. Regenerative therapy can help in recovery times and the quality of your day-to-day life.
Ensuring The Highest Quality Stem Cells
One issue that can affect the results of stem cells for knee pain or back pain is the quality of the stem cells. It’s an unfortunate reality that many doctors seek out the lowest price when searching for tissue to use for their treatments. And as with most things in life, lower price often means lower quality.
Our resident stem cell expert Dr. Suhyun An visits every lab that she gets tissue from in person to inspect the samples and make sure they are of the highest quality. As part of her standard protocol, she will count the number of stem cells in the tissue, so her patients have the best odds of receiving a stem cell injection that works quickly and provides long-lasting relief.
If you’d like to learn more about our regenerative medicine, how it differs from stem cell therapy and how it can provide the solution you need without drugs or surgery, call our clinic today.
It’s not uncommon for one of our patients that had regenerative cell treatments to realize that they no longer need surgery to recover pain-free function of shoulders, knees, hips, wrists and other joints.
To find out if you may benefit from our regenerative cell therapy in Houston, please call our office and schedule a free complimentary consultation.