Joint pain is one of the most common complaints in medicine. It is more prevalent in seniors whose joints have been subject to long-term wear and tear.
Many people develop conditions like osteoarthritis (RA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The former is more common in women.
Although the pain may be temporary, it can also last for months or even years. For this reason, researchers suggested stem cell therapy to address joint disorders.
In this article, we will discuss how stem cell therapy can be useful in treating joint conditions such as osteoarthritis.
Stem cell therapy and arthritis
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 54.4 million Americans (22.7%) suffered from arthritis during 2013–2015.
The number is likely to be underestimated because people don’t always seek medical attention. Instead, they prefer to use home remedies to soothe the pain.
These statistics are still extremely troubling because of the poor functional prognosis associated with arthritis.
Once you get diagnosed with arthritis, several treatments could be prescribed, including acetaminophen – it is generally the first-line treatment.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are the second. These include naproxen, diclofenac, and ibuprofen.
Side effects of NSAIDs are:
- Stomach ulcers
- Mineral deficiencies
- Increased bleeding risk
Corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone) are another alternative to NSAIDs. These drugs get used when NSAIDs fail to work. Side effects of drugs such as prednisone can be very serious, presenting as:
- Cushing syndrome
- High blood sugar
Non-pharmacological treatments such as cryotherapy or thermotherapy are the final options for treating joint problems.
Many treatment options for joint disorders can cause serious side effects, which may be more severe than the original symptoms. Therefore, scientists are always looking for alternative therapies that could help patients without causing an array of side effects.
Enter: Stem Cell Therapy
Patients with osteoarthritis often undergo joints tissue degeneration. Their articulations start to lack structural elements, including bone, cartilage, and ligaments. From this concept, the idea of using stem cell therapy to treat arthritis originated.
Because stem cells have the ability to differentiate into any cell type, they could replace the lost tissue and help restore joint function.
While this treatment may not cure all joint disorders, it is still a viable option that should be discussed. The need for stem cell therapy becomes more pronounced when your symptoms do not respond to conventional therapies.
The best part about stem cell therapy is its side effect profile. Unlike other treatments, stem cell therapy barely causes any adverse effects. In other words, it is completely safe to use on almost everyone.
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Many medical institutions are now incorporating stem cell therapy in their treatment plans. Orthopedic surgery is one of the most popular.
Hopefully, the use of stem cell therapy will become more mainstream to help as many patients as possible.
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