New research is paving the way for an advanced type of treatment for chronic musculoskeletal pain. By harvesting stem cells from a patient’s bone marrow, physicians are now able to help those who suffer from chronic joint pain to regenerate worn out cartilage and spinal discs, thus relieving pain that could only be treated temporarily before.
From the data generated in a small study, the procedure appears to be safe, and none of the subjects involved in the study reported any worsening of symptoms after the treatment.
Where Do Stem Cells Come From?
The bone marrow of an adult patient contains bone marrow aspirate cellular concentrate (BMAC), a tissue that is rich in stem cells. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells which have not been assigned a task within the body and can become any kind of cell the body requires.
Using a local anesthetic, physicians are able to remove a section of BMAC from the patient and inject it into the tissue to be treated. This treatment has also been used successfully to treat baldness, and a number of other kinds of normal bodily wear and tear.
Stem Cell Pain Management Procedure
During the procedure, a needle is used to extract bone marrow from the patient’s tibia. The marrow is then spun in a centrifuge to separate the stem cells from other tissue. Then the stem cells are injected directly into the space surrounding the damaged joint.
In the study, patients reported having suffered from joint pain between three months and twelve years. Radiology revealed all of these patients had damage to the joints.
Until the development of BMAC harvesting for joint pain, degeneration could only be treated in limited and temporary ways. Patients would engage in specialized physical therapy to improve strength.
Chiropractic treatments would be used to provide relief, and pain killers would- in many cases be used, and addiction, as well as toxic side effects, have been a serious ongoing issue.
Ninety percent of patients who have stem cell grafting report moderate pain relief between two and four months afterward, and significant pain relief after one year. Of the 10 percent who did not report significant improvement, none reported any worsening of their pain.
Medical science has only just begun to learn of the powerful benefits that patients can experience by using stem cell graft treatments utilizing their own living BMAC tissue. In the near future, it is believed that researchers will find ways to improve regeneration rates so that 100 percent of patients receiving this treatment will experience significant improvements.