More Americans suffer from chronic pain than diabetes, coronary heart disease and cancer combined. And according to the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), knee pain is the second major cause of chronic pain.
No one enjoys living in pain, let alone chronic knee pain. Not only does it affect you physically, but it also impacts you mentally as you become limited in what you can do.
Depending on the injury and severity, your knee can be treated using a variety of methods, and surgery may not be needed. We’ll explore some common knee conditions and how regenerative stem cell therapy can be applied to help you recover quickly without the risks of surgery.
But first, let’s explore some of the dangers of having surgery performed on your knee and why using alternative procedures, such as stem cell therapy, can be a better (and healthier) approach.
Knee Replacement Surgery Dangers
Knee replacement surgery is a common procedure in which a metal prosthetic implant is inserted in place of your knee joint. This implant is made of metal, plastics, alloys, and polymers, which doesn’t sound too great from a patient’s perspective.
Although most patients eventually recover well from this procedure, it is not without some unexpected bumps in the road that everyone should be aware of, which can include:
- In-patient hospital stay of anywhere from three (3) to ten (10) days
- Anywhere from three (3) months to one (1) year of missed time from work
- A three (3) month period in which you cannot walk unassisted
- Possible blood clots
- Possible infection
- Possible fractures
- Possible ligament damage
- Possible nerve damage
- Possible dislocation
- Possible chance of having surgery again
In a nutshell, you may not have a normally functioning knee capable of performing routine daily tasks for at least three months. This may lead to weight gain, days off work for treatment or the need to take short-term disability.
If you have kids, then this means you will be sidelined for quite some time.
You run the risk of having all sorts of dangerous possibilities occurring – ranging anywhere from blood clots (which are deadly) to needing surgery again!
Oh, and there’s also to mention the risks involved with damaging your liver as can become reliant on pain reliever medications – prescription or OTC.
Why Regenerative Stem Cell Therapy to Treat Knee Conditions
At a high level, regenerative medicine refers to an array of non-surgical procedures designed to help you recover quicker. When having stem cell therapy performed to treat a knee condition, you have fewer risks than going the invasive surgery route. In fact, all of the risks highlighted above earlier are virtually non-existent, and you may be able to go back to regular activities (including work) within a week or less!
A few months ago I wrote an article that discussed what stem cells are and how the actual stem cell therapy process works. I also shared how stem cell therapy can be used to treat several conditions, including partial tears, osteoarthritis, heart disease, diabetes, immune disorders, and more.
Generally speaking, stem cells are your body’s repair kit. When you experience an injury, stem cells from your body migrate toward the injured area, and this activates the healing process.
However, with some injuries, such as the knee, your stem cells cannot get to the injured area due to the severity of the damage. When this occurs, stem cells that are rich in other parts of your body – including your bone marrow and fat – can be extracted.
Once these stem cells are extracted, they are then separated by spinning them in a centrifuge device. Then these stem cells are injected strategically back into the injured part of your body using ultrasound guidance. This then activates your body’s healing process.
Regarding common knee injuries, regenerative stem cell therapy can be used to treat the following conditions:
The meniscus is located at the knee joint. When your meniscus cartilage ruptures due to traumatic injuries, or wear and tear, this is referred to as a meniscus tear, which can be very painful.
If you have been diagnosed with a meniscal tear, surgical treatment comes with some risks. Steroid injections have their shortcomings as well, including advancing the degenerative process as it is toxic to the tissues.
By utilizing the regenerative stem cell therapy approach, your collateral ligament can repair itself and regain its normal function of holding the knee bones in place. This ends up relieving pressure on other components of your knee, such as the articular cartilage and meniscus.
Knee degeneration from wear and tear develops over time, which can result in debilitating chronic pain.
What typically happens with knee degeneration is that your cartilage or other soft tissues within the knee joint not only begin to deteriorate, but also dehydrate. Your knee can also degenerate as a result of an injury.
Once your knee begins to degenerate, friction within the joint can lead to swelling, inflammation, bone spurs, and many other painful symptoms.
Stem cell therapy can be used to target your damaged, and deteriorating tissues as concentrated amounts of these cells are injected into the area that is affected. This can reduce your inflammation (almost immediately), and can reverse the damage of your deteriorated tissue.
ACL or PCL Injury
Both the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) are major ligaments that provide strength and stability within your knee joint.
Injuries to these connective tissues are not only excruciating, but they are also very challenging to treat and heal. This is why many professional athletes opt to go with newer advanced treatments using stem cell therapy to help target the injured area and rebuild the cartilage back in the knee.
Chondromalacia is a medical term used for “runner’s knee.” This condition is common among athletes – young and old.
When using regenerative stem cell therapy to solve chondromalacia, your doctor can target the specific areas of inflammation or injury and restore your damaged tissues.
With modern advancements in medicine, you may not need to go the conventional route to solve your chronic pain issues. More and more patients are seeking safer alternatives such as stem cell therapy, which can be used to help you restore your knee(s) quicker and help you get back to normal living.
Meet Dr. Neil Spiegel
For over 20 years in osteopathic medicine, Dr. Spiegel has applied traditional and alternative methods to diagnose and treat his patients. He has a special interest in caring for patients with acute and chronic musculoskeletal and neurologic pain syndromes. Dr. Spiegel has received numerous professional and volunteerism honors including Top Doctor Survey Awards and the State of Maryland Volunteer Service Award. He also serves on the Board of Directors of a free clinic serving the uninsured in Montgomery County, Maryland.