Knee Pain Treatment Ohio– a new wave of therapy taking the orthopedic world by storm
Millions of individuals worldwide suffer from chronic knee pain. At its worst, knee pain can be debilitating and can put a halt to many of your favorite activities. Unaddressed chronic knee pain and arthritis can impact and even drastically reduce your quality of life if the proper treatment isn’t undertaken as soon as possible.
While traditional treatments tend to focus on reducing pain, there has been little in the way of options that provide actual healing…that is until now. Stem cell therapy is breaking through medical barriers, offering renewed hope for those suffering from knee pain.
Cortisone Provides Minimal Relief and Virtually No Healing
Despite being of some help, many anti-inflammatory medications, like cortisone shots, offer relief but no true healing. In essence, they address the symptom (pain) but not the problem (arthritis or injury).
As such, cortisone shots only act to treat inflammation from arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, and other conditions, while also putting the user at risk of a host of often dangerous side effects.
Not to mention that these injections, which help to decrease pain from inflammation, only last about several months before they have to be done again. And even if a doctor recommends a repeat cortisone shot after a period of time, most doctors put limits on the number of shots you can receive in the affected joint during the course of a year. The general rule of thumb is that patients should not receive cortisone injections more than three or four times a year.
Other commonly prescribed treatments for knee pain include hyaluronic acid injections, also called gel injections. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections attempt to restore joint fluid and promote healing by improving the immune response and reducing inflammation.
Regenerative cell therapy, on the other hand, utilizes an injection of specialized cells that boost the body’s regenerative and anti-inflammatory ability so that it can repair and regenerate muscles, tendons, cartilage, and bones.
A New Option: Stem Cell Therapy Offers New Hope to Those Suffering
Thanks to advancements in medical technology, those suffering from chronic knee pain can now potentially avoid knee replacement surgery altogether. Stem cell treatments are not only now a viable and effective alternative treatment option that may negate the need for expensive and invasive knee replacement surgery, it means no risk of a failed knee replacement as well.
Many scientific advancements have been made in the field of stem cell therapy, so it’s not out of the range of possibilities that stem cell replacement therapy could help to eliminate the need for painful knee surgery due to the effects of arthritis. Read on to learn more about all of your options, and why so many individuals are turning to stem cell therapy as a preferred treatment option.
Total Knee Replacements – a total mess?
Before the recent introduction of stem cell therapy, total knee replacements were one of the most successful orthopedic procedures of the twentieth century. Thanks to vast improvements in surgical techniques and materials, total knee replacements are more effective and less painful than they were in the past. Yet they are not without their own risks.
The Risk of Replacement Failure is Real
Total knee replacements can last for 15 to 20 years because of newer implant designs and cutting-edge surgical techniques. However, even with all of these positive results, some procedures do fail and require a second surgery.
Knee implants and replacements fail when they become loose and detach from the bone they were cemented to because of friction over time. Knee implants that loosen from their optimal position can cause pain, changes in structural alignment, reduced mobility, and instability. There is also an increased risk of infection in the area.
Second surgeries require two separate operations to first remove the old knee implant and insert a block of cement with antibiotics, and second, to remove the antibiotic cement spacer and insert a new prosthetic knee.
Recovery Time can Be Both Long and Painful
Moreover, recovery time can be lengthy and painful with both a successful first surgery or a secondary replacement. Unlike the quick recovery time associated with stem cell therapy, total knee replacements require up to three months of physical therapy and the use of crutches or walkers during the early stages of healing before patients can progress to the use of a cane.
Some of the risks associated with total knee replacement surgery include:
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
- Damage to nerves or blood vessels
- Pulmonary Embolism (PE)
- Intra-operative fractures
Along with these risks, there is also swelling to the knee and ankle that will take three to six months to go down post-surgery. It’s important to note that prior medical conditions such as heart and lung issues, or stroke-related issues can be made worse through a total knee replacement surgery or through a revision procedure.
Not Effective for Everyone
And even though as much as 90 percent of patients will have favorable outcomes with a total knee replacement, not all patients will experience pain relief or increased mobility, stability, or function. Sadly, 20 percent of patients who undergo a total knee replacement or revision surgery still experience knee pain several years after the procedure.
A Non-Invasive Alternative
Thankfully, stem cell therapy is proving to be a successful, almost pain-free, non-invasive way to treat, eliminate, and naturally heal acute and chronic knee pain. Advancements in stem cell therapy, along with new studies and research into the procedure that reinforce stem cell therapy’s outcomes, are giving patients with chronic and acute knee pain more control over their options for treating this painful, life-altering condition. One day soon, total knee replacements will hopefully be something of the past.
Why Stem Cells are the Treatment of the Future
With the many advancements in regenerative medicine, doctors are able to offer their patients long-lasting and affordable treatments that eliminate both short and long-term pain. Stem cell therapy treatments for knee pain may one day make knee replacement surgery obsolete. According to a recent study at the Mayo Clinic, patients suffering from the #1 most common type of arthritis which is osteoarthritis who had stem cell therapy in replace of knee surgery showed a dramatic improvement in the knee that received the stem cells and also, surprisingly, in the opposite knee that did not receive any other treatment at all. This study did not include treatments for more than 100 other types of arthritis. It was only for the most common type of arthritis.
“Our findings can be interrupted in ways that we now need to test — one of which is that bone marrow stem cell injection in one ailing knee can relieve pain in both affected knees in a systemic or whole-body fashion,” said Doctor Shane A. Shapiro, a Mayo Clinic orthopedic physician and the study’s lead author.
Even though new studies are promising, patients with knee pain should still do their due diligence and put their time and effort into researching facts about knee pain and its various treatments including the causes of knee pain, how stem cell therapy works to relieve it, how stem cell therapy is performed, and who is a good candidate for the procedure.
Knee Pain Prevalence
A recent study shows that more than one-third of Americans suffer from debilitating joint pain associated with arthritis. The study also showed that 46.2 percent of individuals with knee pain were aged 50 and over, with 32.2 percent of those being men, and 58.0 percent being women. Since most treatments are limited to cortisone injections, many patients suffer from secondary issues such as joint infections, nerve damage, thinning skin, increased pain, weakened tendons, and thinning and dying bones at the injection site. Likewise, knee replacement surgery also comes with its own set of risks. What’s more, anti-inflammatory medications are the leading cause of liver failure in the United States.
Since most patients with chronic or acute knee pain seek to avoid surgery, injection treatments become highly desirable to them. The good news is that stem cell treatments are done through injection and have promising outcomes.
What Can Stem Cell Treatments Be Used For?
Stem cell treatments/injections can be used on knee osteoarthritis, torn anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL) or posterior cruciate ligaments (PCL), articular cartilage defects, as a torn meniscus treatment, and cartilage degeneration. Stem cell therapy has been shown to expedite healing times and rebuild tissue in degenerative conditions such as the ones listed above.
Since cartilage does not regenerate, stem cell treatment has been called a major breakthrough in the regeneration of human cartilage. During the procedure, doctors introduce stem cells into the body through injections. The master cells then transform into finite cell types to help the body naturally restore and rebuild those areas that are damaged and worn down.
Common Knee Injuries and Conditions Stem Cell Therapy May Prove Useful For
As a sole means of therapy or as an adjunct to other traditional treatments, stem cell therapy may prove useful for the following among other conditions of the knee joint. Your doctor will be able to provide a proper assessment and advise on the best course of action.
Torn Meniscus Treatment – one of the most common knee injuries, often caused by forcefully twisting or rotating the knee. The menisci (c-shaped discs) that form a cushion between the thigh and shin bone tear and cause pain, swelling, stiffness and decreased range of motion.
Failed Total Knee Replacement – up to 10% or more of knee replacements fail. Further, up to 20% or more of total knee replacements do little to improve symptoms.
Arthritis and Cartilage Degeneration – most commonly, osteoarthritis is the culprit. This degenerative and progressive condition wears down the joint cartilage over time, causing pain, inflammation, swelling and more.
ACL and PCL tears – both the anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL) or posterior cruciate ligaments can become torn. These ligaments connect the femur (thigh bone) to your (tibia) shin bone and are critical for proper joint mobility.
How Stem Cell Therapy Works
Despite what you may have heard, stem cell therapy is minimally invasive and largely straightforward. We use cells from umbilical cords that are donated by healthy mothers who gave birth to a healthy baby. The number of cells is substantially higher than many other options and this allows for you to get the benefit.
The young cells that get you the results are called mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). These are the exact type of cells that you had when you were younger and would heal fast. We place these cells in the knee joint where you’re having the pain. You already have MSCs live in bone marrow but can also exist in other places like fat and muscle tissue. The therapy simply gives you more so that your body can do what it is designed to do. Rebuild. Regrow. Regenerate. Heal.
It’s as simple as a shot. From that point, the rest of the work is up to the stem cells and your body’s own natural repairing mechanisms. It’s now time for them to get busy rebuilding and repairing the damaged tissue in the knee. Over time, the mesenchymal stem cells will work to repair tissue, reduce inflammation, eliminate scarring, and boost the function of the immune system.
In order to stimulate and encourage this natural process further, your doctor may suggest or advise on the localized injection of growth factors into the area. These growth factors are hormones that tell the body to help the stem cells thrive by delivering oxygen, blood, and nutrients into the area. Growth factors are taken from the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) of blood. Once the blood is extracted, it is placed in a centrifuge and spun to isolate the plasma needed for tissue repair.
Is Stem Cell Therapy for Knees Costly and is the Procedure Lengthy?
That depends on a few factors:
- The individual’s medical history
- The particular condition or injury
- The severity of the condition or injury
- And more…
Regardless of how the stem cell clinic chooses to proceed, the procedure is minimally invasive, and the time required for healing and recovery is generally fast.
Costs of the procedure are directly related to those factors above and the extent of the treatment necessary to yield the best results for the patient. Once the best course of action that will result in the highest probability of success, then we will discuss what those options look like in terms of pricing. Financing may be available to help with those patients wishing to pay over an extended period of time.
The cost will almost always depend on the number and extent of the procedures that are needed, as well as the number of body parts that are being treated at the same time. Typically, treating more than one knee at a time is more cost-effective in the long-run.
How Effective is Stem Cell Therapy for Knees?
Across the United States, there are over 600 stem cell therapy clinics, having treated over 100,000 patients and growing fast. So far, patients receiving such treatments have been reporting fantastic results from stem cell injections to their knees, with reports ranging from complete healing and full recovery to moderate relief of symptoms.
A recent study performed at the Mayo Clinic reinforces this feedback. The findings, published in The American Journal of Sports Medicine was a first of its kind, and revealed that host treated with stem cells experienced “dramatic improvement in the knee that received the stem cells, but also in the other knee…”.
The results of this groundbreaking study are promising and demonstrate the potential of stem cell therapy to produce lasting and impactful positive outcomes for those individuals suffering from knee pain but wishing to avoid painful, expensive and invasive surgery.
Are There Any Risks?
As with any medical procedure, nothing (no matter how non-invasive) has no risks. However, the potential risks with stem cell treatments are minimal, especially in comparison to surgery.
Since patients use cells from donated cord blood that is tested in a medical lab, there is very little risk of experiencing complications from using donor cells.
As an outpatient procedure, there are minimal risks that something will go wrong, much unlike the risks associated with a bone marrow transplant or other invasive surgical procedures.
The main risk associated with receiving stem cell therapy is acquiring an infection from the blood draw site or injection site. This risk is largely mitigated by sterilization and proper sanitation procedures.
What are the Next Steps?
The first step in receiving stem cell therapy is to schedule a consultation with us. During your consultation, your talented medical staff will take into consideration a number of factors that will determine whether or not stem cell therapy will be beneficial and effective for your knee pain.
Some factors that determine whether or not stem cell therapy is right for a patient to include health, the severity of the condition, age, and other treatments that may be available to the patient. Overall, stem cell therapy is generally affordable, minimally invasive, effective, and extremely low-risk.