Arthritis can certainly be a real pain. That’s obvious, of course, because millions of people suffer from aching and swollen joints.
But we’re actually referring to pain in the brain, because understanding these diseases can be confusing and frustrating. Yet as we learn more about what actually causes joint pain and stiffness, new treatments can now help promote healing and ease chronic pain without side effects from medication or the risks of complex surgery.
One reason arthritis can be a confusing topic is that there are actually two different “arthritis” diseases.
First, there’s osteoarthritis, often called a “wear and tear” condition because this disease emerges in older people when cartilage in the joints deteriorate, leaving bones exposed to friction that causes pain and inflammation. This disease is:
Very common – affecting about 10% of men and 18% of women over age 60
A disorder that may begin with mild pain, but get more severe over time – in some cases leading to the formation of bone spurs
A condition that can develop in any joint, but is most often seen in the fingers, thumbs, hips, and knees
However, there is another type of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, which is a completely different disease. It’s less common, but is far more diagnosed in younger patients. This is classified as an autoimmune disorder because it’s not caused by so-called “wear and tear,” but develops when the body’s immune system essentially attacks itself — triggering an overall inflammatory response in the body that causes joint pain.
Based on this difference, rheumatoid arthritis is considered an inflammatory disease, while osteoarthritis is often referred to as a “non-inflammatory” disease because while inflammation may result, it doesn’t appear to cause osteoarthritis.
New research, however, shows that this may not be the case at all. Indeed, chronic inflammation may actually be a risk factor for osteoarthritis. That’s why stem cell therapy has emerged as a new treatment option for this disease because stem cells can help reduce chronic inflammation that may lead to osteoarthritis and many other diseases and age-related conditions – including cardiovascular disease, spinal disc degeneration, and many others.
Until recently, osteoarthritis treatment options were limited to medication or surgery, but at BioXcellerator, we’re now treating more osteoarthritis patients with stem cells that can promote healing with fewer side effects and far less risk that surgical procedures.
Painful treatment choices: Medication or surgery
When patients are diagnosed with osteoarthritis, medication is usually the first treatment option. In many cases, medications called NSAIDS are prescribed, which do not contain steroids. These medications may offer some pain relief, but can cause serious side effects that include:
High blood pressure and kidney damage
Stomach irritation and ulcers
Increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and blood clots
When NSAIDS aren’t effective, patients may receive injections of steroids, usually cortisone. These medications can help in some cases, but the side effects from steroid use can be even more serious.
When medications don’t work or their benefits diminish over time, physicians often recommend surgery. In some cases, surgery involves fusing bones together. In other cases, joints are completely replaced, such as when patients undergo hip replacement surgery.
Unfortunately, long recovery times are common to both forms of surgery and these complex procedures may pose risks that can lead to even more pain.
But stem cell therapy is a noninvasive treatment that poses little risk of side effects or complications because it’s based on the body’s natural repair processes. Not only do many of our patients report less pain, stem cell treatments can ease inflammation throughout the body and even reduce the impact of aging.
How stem cells help treat osteoarthritis
The reason stem cell therapy works for disorders such as osteoarthritis is because this treatment supplements the body with additional stem cells it needs to repair various tissues and organs – an ongoing natural process that’s always at work in all of us, whether we realize it or not.
As we age, however, the body may not produce enough stem cells to completely heal joints and other tissues. But an infusion of millions of high-potency stem cells gives the body more cellular resources to promote healing.
At BioXcellerator, we use mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from Wharton’s Jelly in donated umbilical cords because these cells demonstrate higher potency than cells from other sources. We select cells from the healthiest of donors and then screen these cells before they are purified, and then cultured and expanded into infusions of millions of high-potency stem cells.
After treatment, these cells go to work as the body normally uses stem cells — to generate new cartilage which eases the pain of osteoarthritis and gives many patients more mobility.
It doesn’t take long, either. Some patients report significantly less pain within a few days after treatment and often note continuing improvement in the weeks and months following treatment.
Not only does stem cell treatment promote healing of osteoarthritis, it also eases overall chronic inflammation because stem cells help the body modulate an overactive immune response which can trigger inflammation. This is one reason why patients treated with stem cells also often report an improved overall sense of well-being and more vitality.
So while it may be bit painful to study the latest research, it’s certainly worth it because it’s becoming clearer that chronic inflammation may be more of a risk factor for osteoarthritis than we once assumed. But that can be a relief for millions of patients who suffer agonizing arthritic pain – and shows how stem cells can help millions more people live longer and get more out of life.
Learn more about stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis and other treatments at:
If you’re interested in learning more about advanced stem cell therapy and determining if stem cell therapy is right for you.