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Stem cell therapy may provide promising alternative to joint replacement surgery
NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE

Stem cell therapy may provide promising alternative to joint replacement surgery

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Stem cells are not a new discovery, but their potential for healing has recently gained a great deal of attention in the realm of regenerative medicine. More people are discovering that their joints need support to hold up to their activity level, and athletes are looking for non-surgical methods to keep them active. Instead of signing up for multiple joint replacements, stem cell treatment appears promising.

Experiencing joint pain doesn’t automatically mean that a joint replacement is necessary. Many causes for joint pain never require surgery. The use of stem cells in medicine has advanced greatly in the last few decades. Stem cells are capable of long-term division, thus renewing themselves and replenishing other cells.

Stem cells are also pluripotent, meaning they have the potential to work with any type of cell in the body. When applied to a site of injury, the pluripotent cells utilize the body’s innate healing mechanisms to initiate their regenerative action. These properties give stem cell treatment an immense therapeutic capacity.

Stem cell injection therapy is performed as a simple in-office procedure. Since stem cells contain natural growth factors, they have the power to do more than just heal damage. They have been found to reduce pain and stiffness and improve mobility. Many patients start experiencing better overall functionality with just one treatment. Furthermore, the incidence of adverse reaction is very low, because the cells are derived from biological components that already exist in the human body.

With more than 600,000 knee replacements performed in the United States yearly, the potential applications of regenerative medicine are truly profound. Whether patients have spent years skiing, running marathons, walking golf courses or battling chronic osteoarthritis, various surgeries may be avoided by alternatively choosing a stem cell procedure. Stem cell therapy also translates to less pain and a decreased risk of complications compared to traditional surgery.

The future of regenerative medicine has never been brighter. Embryonic stem cell research has been going on for decades, but the full potential of these cells is still to be discovered. Stem cells are becoming one of the most-researched areas of medicine, particularly in the knees and hips. Early research in animals has been encouraging and human studies suggest promising effects.

If you have recurring or chronic joint pain, you may think joint replacement surgery is your only option for relief. However, you may want to explore less invasive options first, such as stem cell regenerative therapy. Consult a physician at Yellowstone Naturopathic Clinic for an evaluation to see if regenerative injections can benefit you.

Dr. Kaley Burns is an associated physician at Yellowstone Naturopathic Clinic. She received her Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine from the National University of Health Sciences in Chicago, Illinois. Her specialties include primary care and preventative medicine, nutritional counseling and regenerative injection therapies including Prolotherapy and PRP, digestive health and autoimmune conditions.

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