Osteoarthritis (OA) affects over 32.5 million adults in the U.S. It is the most common type of arthritis and is also known as degenerative joint disease. Symptoms can be mild to completely debilitating pain in some people. Here we discuss is stem cell therapy effective for osteoarthritis?
Fortunately, most patients can manage their OA symptoms with lifestyle changes. But for those who experience severe pain, lifestyle changes aren’t always enough. Stem cell therapy is a safe, non-invasive treatment that may bring long-lasting relief for individuals with OA.
Causes and Risk Factors for OA
In most cases, osteoarthritis is caused by normal wear and tear on the joints. As the protective cartilage inside a joint begins to wear down, it creates changes in the underlying bone. The result can be inflammation, pain, stiffness in the joints, and a decreased range of motion.
Age is the number-one risk factor for developing OA. As we age, everyday movements cause the cartilage to break down. Other risk factors include the following:
- Genetics: If people in your family have OA, you are more likely to develop the condition
- Obesity: Extra weight increases the stress on weight-bearing joints
- Joint injury: A joint that has been damaged is more likely to develop OA
- Repetitive use: Repetitive bending, kneeling, or other movements can cause the cartilage to break down sooner
- Gender: Women, and especially women over 50, are at the highest risk for developing OA
Many people ask the question – Is Stem Cell Therapy Effective for Osteoarthritis? Traditional treatments for OA typically involve a combination of therapies such as physical therapy, weight loss, medications, and using supportive devices like a cane. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended.
How Does Regenerative Medicine Help Osteoarthritis?
Whether you have been newly diagnosed with OA or have been coping with the condition for many years, regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, is considered to be a safe treatment for most patients with OA and other orthopedic complaints such as degenerative disc disease.
The most common side effects of receiving stem cell therapy are temporary swelling and mild pain at the injection site. The inflammation that occurs when joint cartilage becomes damaged is one cause of OA pain. Swollen tissues cause pressure on the delicate nerves that surround the joints. The other source of pain is from the joints themselves. Without the protection of cartilage, joint bones come into direct contact with one another.
Stem cells release anti-inflammatory agents that reduce the pain caused by swelling and promote healing within the joint. Stem cell therapy may also be able to regenerate healthy new cartilage tissue. Each case of OA is considered and set with realistic expectations and stem cell therapy offers patients an alternative option to manage their condition and symptoms. If you would like to learn more or schedule an a consultation, contact a care coordinator today!