After suffering an injury or experiencing any kind of damage to your body, it’s common to worry about how long the recovery process will take and wonder how soon you’ll be back to your normal self. The answer greatly depends on your physical health, the type of injury you face, and the treatments you’re receiving.
By understanding the drawbacks some traditional treatment options offer, especially when speaking about orthopedic injuries, and knowing more about options like stem cell therapy, you’ll be better able to make informed decisions about your treatment. Learn more about how regenerative medicine options, such as stem cell therapy, can impact the recovery process.
Why Traditional Treatments Aren’t Always Right
In orthopedics, healing takes significant time. It’s important to note, however, that one of the most common treatment options — surgery — only extends the time necessary to fully heal.
The typical healing period for someone who has undergone orthopedic surgery, even minimally invasive options, is several weeks. And that time refers only to the healing needed so that you can be up and walking around again — it does not mean being back to your full strength or regaining your flexibility.
This is why it’s common to see professional athletes take several months to recover after an injury that required surgery. As you recover, you also have to take pain medications and other drugs.
If you don’t choose the surgery route, another traditional option is steroids. These relieve pain and reduce inflammation, but they cause more damage to the injured area. They can cause a decrease in blood supply to the bones in the joints, leading to them weakening. Also, they can potentially accelerate cartilage damage.
Turning to pain medications alone does help reduce pain, but because they don’t do anything to fix the problem causing the pain in the first place, all painkillers do is prolong the issue. Long-term use of pain medications has its own health risks, which you will want to weigh against the benefits the medications provide.
Taking steroids and turning to painkillers will generally only delay the need for surgery. They don’t stop the progression of the problem that causes pain, allowing it to worsen while masking the symptoms. And while surgery is often successful at treating the injury, its cost and invasiveness mean it is not a viable option for everyone.
Understanding Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cells are your body’s building blocks. They are the cells that divide to form daughter cells that become other stem or specialized cells.
Stem cells can generate healthy cells to replace those damaged or affected by disease. They can be guided to become specialized cells, helping repair and regenerate tissues throughout the body.
There are three types of stem cells — embryonic, perinatal, or adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells come from donated embryos that are three to five days old and contain an inner cell mass. These are pluripotent cells, meaning they can become any type of cell in the body or more stem cells. Due to the controversy of using these stem cells, they are primarily used in research only.
Perinatal stem cells come from amniotic fluid or umbilical cord blood. These stem cells can transform into specialized cells.
Adult stem cells are present in most tissues in the adult body, including fat tissues, bone marrow, or umbilical cord tissue. Although their abilities are slightly more limited than those found in embryonic stem cells, they are still potent and can create all kinds of human cells. Adult stem cells break down into many different types, including:
- Mesenchymal stem cells
- Hematopoietic stem cells
- Skin stem cells
- Neural stem cells
- Epithelial stem cells
Stem cell therapy refers to the use of stem cells to promote the repair response of injured, diseased, or dysfunctional tissues. Stem cell therapy requires the preparation of the cells, which are usually obtained from your body and then injected into the treatment area.
How Stem Cell Therapy Helps
Stem cell therapy stimulates your body’s natural healing response. When a part of your body has inflammation, which is a natural response to an injury, it receives less blood.
The stem cell therapy reduces inflammation, which helps decrease pain while also improving blood circulation. More blood means the injured area receives the nutrients and oxygen it needs to heal itself.
Stem cell therapy allows for the management and healing of the problem. It doesn’t just mask the symptoms or delay the need for surgery; instead, it helps the formation of healthier tissues in the areas where they are needed.
Another benefit of stem cell therapy is that it doesn’t require any invasive procedures. All that is necessary is to extract stem cells from your body and enhance them before injecting them at the treatment site.
Unlike surgery, you don’t have to worry about a long recovery time or having to rely on help from others to manage everyday life as you heal. If you are someone who can’t go under general anesthesia, this is an option to consider. It is an outpatient procedure, allowing you to go home right after.
With stem cell therapy, you also don’t have to stress about participating in physical therapy for months, as you would have to do after surgery. It is an option that allows you to get back to your life as quickly as possible.
Relying on Regenerative Medicine
As one of the branches of medicine that holds promising potential, people are exploring regenerative medicine options like stem cell therapy. From autoimmune diseases to sports injuries and more, stem cell therapy, platelet-rich plasma, and other regenerative medicine options can help.
Not everyone can have surgery, and not everyone wants to depend on steroids and pain medications to feel relief.
By turning to an option that focuses on getting to the underlying problem causing the pain, you have an opportunity to see faster results without worrying about a long recovery process or dealing with general anesthesia. Give your body the chance to heal itself by considering stem cell therapy.