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How Does Stem Cell Therapy Work?

Regenerative medicine is an exciting and rapidly evolving field of medical science, one that offers hope to those whose bodies have been affected by disease, injury or age-related degeneration. It is a field of medicine focused on replacing and regrow lost tissue or cells in order to restore normal body functions. By using a patient’s own stem cells, specialists are able to inject them back into the affected area, helping to heal damaged tissues and even grow new ones.

This type of therapy has been used to treat joint arthritis, spinal arthritis, ligament, tendon or muscle injuries, and is even being researched for its potential uses in treating heart conditions. In this article, we’ll explore how PRP vs. stem cell therapy works, the benefits of stem cell therapy, and the potential risks associated with it.

PRP Therapy vs. Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell therapy is a cutting-edge and emerging technique focused on replacing or re-growing lost tissue or injured cells to restore normal function. Stem cells are usually derived from a patient’s body through a specialized and safe process. Depending on the type of injury or disease being treated, these cells can then be injected into the patient.

When we think of stem cells, most people immediately associate them with cancer treatment. But stem cell therapy can be used for much more than fighting cancer. It can also be used to offer regenerative medicine, a form of medical treatment that helps the body heal itself.

For stem cell injections, stem cells are derived from the patient’s own body and then injected directly into the area of injury or disease. The stem cells work to repair damaged tissue, reduce inflammation, and help the body heal itself.

PRP therapy also works to help the body heal by using a patient’s blood, processed through a special machine to yield concentrated platelet-rich plasma. This PRP is then injected into the injured area using either ultrasound or fluoroscopic guidance. The platelet-rich plasma helps to enhance the healing of injured ligaments, joint cartilage, tendons, or muscles.

PRP Therapy

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a mixture of concentrated serum and platelets. In this therapy, a specialized machine processes a patient’s blood to yield concentrated platelet-rich plasma. Then, with the help of ultrasound or fluoroscopic guidance, these cells are injected back into the patient to help heal injured ligaments, joint cartilage, tendons, or muscles.

Platelets are naturally occurring cells in our blood that act as a “first responder” when we get injured. When you are injured (or even just when cells are damaged), the platelets rush to the injury and initiate a healing response. The PRP therapy amplifies this natural process by concentrating platelets and injections them directly into the area of injury.

A picture of a person managing joint pain.

What Conditions Benefit From PRP?

PRP therapy can treat tendon sprains/strains and chronic ligaments that have failed other conservative treatments such as rest, physical therapy, and medications.

These include: 

• Joint pain and arthritis

• Rotator cuff tears

• Plantar Fasciitis

• Chronic tendon injuries

• Achilles Tendinopathy

• Knee pain and meniscus tears

• Post-operative rehabilitation

Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell therapy is more advanced compared to PRP Therapy. It offers numerous benefits over traditional forms of treatment. It is a minimally invasive procedure that does not require surgery– there is no risk of rejection as the cells used are from the patient’s body. Compared to PRP Therapy, stem cell therapy offers a much more powerful healing response by introducing large numbers of stem cells directly into the area of injury.

This therapy is also a much more targeted approach to healing than traditional treatments like physical therapy, cortisone injections, or surgery. By directly injecting the stem cells into the injured area, the cells can rebuild and restore lost or injured tissue.

What Conditions Benefit From Stem Cell Therapy?

Stem Cell therapy can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including:

• Osteoarthritis

• Cartilage and joint injuries

• Muscle tears and strains

• Achilles tendonitis

• Rotator cuff tears

• Joint pain and arthritis

• Ligament tears

• Intervertebral disc tears

• Chronic ligament injuries

• Achilles tendonitis

• Plantar Fasciitis

• Muscle tears and strains

• Knee pain and meniscus tears

Risks Associated With Stem Cell Treatment

Stem cell treatments are generally considered safe and can yield positive results. However, there is always a risk of infection or complications with any type of medical procedure. The injections can cause disease, nerve damage, or allergic reactions. However, the use of ultrasound guidance helps to reduce the risk of injecting the wrong location or damaging surrounding structures, but it is important to discuss all potential risks with your doctor.

Also, most insurance companies don’t cover the cost of stem cell treatments yet. Stem cell injections are still considered experimental, so it is important to discuss any financial issues with the doctor who is providing the treatment. 

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Is Stem Cell Therapy Right for You?

If you’re suffering from chronic joint, muscle, and tendon pain and have not had relief from traditional treatments like physical therapy, medications, or injections, you may be a good candidate for Stem Cell Therapy.

However, the best way to decide if stem cell therapy is right for you is by consulting with an experienced and certified medical provider.

Need Help?

At Lone Star Spine & Pain Institute, we use regenerative medicine to help patients recover from their injuries or illnesses. We offer both PRP and stem cell therapy to our patients, which can help them recover and get back to living their lives with fewer limitations.

If you’re interested in learning more about regenerative medicine and how it can help with your pain, please take a look at our website or contact us for a consultation. We are here to help you find the best treatment option for your individual needs!

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