What You Should Know About Stem Cell Therapy For Arthritis

When many people think about arthritis treatments, they think about physical therapy, oral anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroid injections, and surgery. However, what they do not think about are newer and more innovative treatment options available to them. One such option is stem cell therapy. If you have never heard of stem cell therapy for arthritis before, you are not alone. Many people are unaware of this relatively new treatment option. Get to know some of the facts about stem cell therapy for arthritis. Then, you can determine whether stem cell joint therapy is the right option for you and your arthritis. 

What Are Stem Cells?

In order to understand the benefits of stem cell therapy, it is important to understand what stem cells are. Stem cells are known as undifferentiated cells, meaning they are a basic or base cell. Because they have not differentiated into a specific type of cell, they still have the potential to develop into any kind of cell needed by the body. This means that they can be virtually any type of cell when the stem cells grow into maturity. 

Why Stem Cell Therapy?

The idea behind stem cell therapy in general is that injecting stem cells into an area of the body that is ill or injured will cause those stem cells to develop into the type of cell needed in the body. Stem cell therapies have been used in cancer treatments including for leukemia as well as in other applications. The use of stem cell therapy for joints and arthritis is a new and emerging development. 

How Does Stem Cell Therapy for Arthritis Work?

When it comes to stem cell joint therapy for arthritis, there is a set process that is generally followed. The first step is to harvest stem cells from the person receiving the treatment. Using a person's own stem cells is a much more successful process than trying to use a donor's stem cells. This is because there is a much higher chance of rejection and failure with donor cells than with the person's own cells. 

These stem cells are then separated from other cells that may have been harvested along with the stem cells. The concentrated stem cells are processed in a lab and are then injected into the arthritic joint. To be sure of the exact location that stem cells are needed, the doctor may use an ultrasound to find the site of the most significant damage to the joint. 

The stem cells are then left to develop as necessary in the knee joint. This process can sometimes be successful on the first try or may require several passes to work. If stem cell therapy is unsuccessful or only marginally successful, other treatments like surgery may be considered.

What Joints Has Stem Cell Therapy Been Used For?

To date, stem cell therapy has primarily been used for knee joint arthritis. However, this does not mean that it will not be expanded for use in other joints in the near future. 

Now that you know more about stem cell therapy for arthritis, you can determine whether this is a treatment option you would like to try with your doctor. Contact a clinic, like Hiler Chiropractic & Neurology, for more help.