Using Stem Cell Therapy to Treat Arthritis

The prevalence of arthritis in the United States is increasing at an alarming rate. To wit, more than 54 million people report doctor-diagnosed arthritis, and experts predict that this number will rise to 78 million by the year 2040. 

Until recently, treating arthritis mostly came down to managing symptoms. But thanks to breakthroughs in stem cell therapy, we’re now tackling the problem from a regenerative angle.

At the Joint Preservation Institute of Iowa, Dr. Richard Goding and our team focus on the myriad issues that can affect your joints, with arthritis at the top of the list. While we offer many effective treatment options, such as joint replacement, we’re finding great success using stem cell therapy to help your joints rebuild from within.

Here’s a look at how our stem cell therapy may help you regain pain-free mobility when you have arthritis.

Stem cell basics

It would be hard to exaggerate the importance of stem cells in the human body, as they’re the building blocks upon which most other cells are formed. For example, during embryonic development, powerful stem cells transform themselves into type-specific cells to help build a human body from the cell up. 

As adults, we still have stem cells in our bodies, but they aren’t as powerful or as numerous as they were in the embryo. These stem cells are largely found in your bone marrow and fat tissue, where they wait to be called upon when damage occurs. When the call comes, these stem cells arrive on the scene and transform themselves into the necessary cells for healing and repair.

The role of stem cells in arthritis

At our practice, we mainly use stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis (OA), which is the most common form of joint disease. With OA, the cartilage in your joints begins to break down, which allows your bones to rub together without protection. This, in turn, leads to the pain, stiffness, and inflammation that are the hallmarks of OA.

OA is progressive, and there’s traditionally little we’ve been able to do to slow the progression of the disease, because your cartilage doesn’t benefit from a healthy blood supply.

With stem cell therapy, we can overcome this hurdle by injecting the stem cells directly into your damaged connective tissues. To do this, we extract stem cells from your bone marrow and redirect them into your damaged joints. This autologous approach means that your body readily accepts the cells, as we’re simply moving them from one area to another.

After we inject the cells, they go to work to reduce inflammation and regenerate the damaged tissues inside your joint. This process may take several treatments, and you’ll need to be patient as the stem cells go to work. Most of our patients realize results over the weeks following their stem cell treatments.

If you’d like to explore whether stem cell therapy can help you regain the freedom to move without pain, please contact one of our offices in Corydon and West Des Moines, Iowa, to set up an appointment.

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