If you experience severe knee pain on a daily basis, you are not alone. The US National Library of Medicine asserts that over 20% of adults struggle with knee pain that hurts their quality of life and prevents them from doing the activities they enjoy the most. Many even find it challenging to walk a short distance without physical limitations and assistance from others.
A common solution to chronic knee pain, especially to those with osteoarthritis (OA), is total knee replacement, but many do not realize this option is extreme and a last resort. Recent implementation of stem cell research as a treatment option suggests that patients are not forced to take drastic measures so quickly. In this article, we will tell you more about stem cell therapy for intense knee pain and whether it is a more viable solution than a complete knee replacement.
What is Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem cell therapy is a unique breakthrough in medical science that uses stem cells to repair destroyed tissues and other existing cells. These stem cells have regenerative properties due to their ability to divide into any cells in the human body, like those from the heart or liver. When injected in a lacking area, they can transform into the needed cell and perform necessary functions as though it were it.
Similarly, when chronic knee patients wrestle with intense pain in their knees and believe replacement is their only option, stem cell therapy can be a viable solution. By injecting stem cells from the patient’s own body or an FDA-approved source into the knee cartilage, crucial holes can be “patched”, which begins the healing process.
Do I Need Stem Cell Therapy?
Many people deal with a large variety of knee pain situations, but only some constitute stem cell therapy. It is commonly believed by patients that their stiffness of joints and immobility makes them a candidate of this groundbreaking treatment method. However, only those “bone on bone” patients who have struggled with chronic knee pain for years and decades while exhausting all regular healing methods require stem cell therapy.
For example, if a young adult experienced a recent knee injury during exercise, had a career that kept them on their feet and still experienced pain after recovery, dextrose Prolotherapy injections would be their best option. Even men and women with sharp pain from injuries originating a few years prior should not seek stem cell therapy as their first option. Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP) would act as a more effective solution in their case.
What are the Side Effects?
A majority of stem cell therapy report having no negative side effects to the treatment. Recovery times are quick and patients leave the doctor’s office feeling elated and grateful for the return of their joyful life quality. However, it is noted by some that their experiences with stem cell therapy did not match those with positive results.
Smaller percentages of patients dealt with increased pain in their knees in addition to swelling and redness at the injection areas. A potential risk involved with the newly discovered treatment is bacterial infections, specifically with adult stem cells where pathogens entered before injection. Depending upon the client, some did not find success with stem cell therapy and opted for full knee replacement in the end.
Is Stem Cell Therapy Effective?
Misconceptions surrounding stem cell therapy lie in the belief that a single injection will cure years and decades of knee degradation, which is simply not the case. For as much effort and time have been done by external forces in breaking down knee cartilage, the same must be reciprocated by stem cell therapy. One knee injection will last a long period of time, but patients will need to return regularly to repeat the procedure.
That being said, a large number of bone on bone knee patients that do participate in stem cell therapy have successful treatment. They obtain regained mobility as well as decreased pain and joint stiffness, which keeps them from having to rely upon over-the-counter pain medications. Although stem cell therapy does not produce complete healing, as the public is led to believe by popular media outlets, it is an effective means of recovering from chronic knee pain.
Trust Medical Professionals with Your Chronic Knee Problems
At Arizona Pain and Spine Institute, we believe in improving the quality of life for our patients, helping them find the right medical solutions to joint, knee and other problems they experience. If you want to learn more about stem cell therapy, our institute is filled with trusted doctors that are ready to answer your questions and walk alongside you in your knee journey.