Today’s PRP and Stem Cell Therapies are Changing How Modern Medicine Looks at Osteoarthritis
Though they’ve been around for many years now, this may be the first time you’ve heard of platelet-rich plasma and stem cell therapies for osteoarthritis. You’re not alone if this is the case. These advanced medical techniques have been primarily in use for sports medicine.
But over the past several years, these revolutionary therapies have begun changing the way physicians approach joint pain well beyond the realms of professional sports medicine.
The National Stem Cell Institute (NSI), a leading regenerative medicine clinic in the United States, uses both platelet rich plasma therapy and stem cell therapy regularly for people who have tried everything to relieve the chronic inflammation. Many of our patients have tried many traditional methods and treatments without success in their search for relief from the pain of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, neuropathy, and joint pain. And the results for many patients feel nothing less than miraculous.
The Basics of Platelet Rich Plasma and Stem Cell Therapies
Frequently referred to by the initials PRP, platelet rich plasma therapy has been used many years for accelerated healing in cases of bone injury as well as wound and soft tissue healing in professional sports medicine.
PRP therapy works by infusing the injured area with natural proteins, cytokines, stem cells and other bioactive growth factors derived directly from the human body. It didn’t take long for medical professionals to realize this same method would be highly effective in treating osteoarthtitis.
Meanwhile, stem cell therapy‘s effectiveness in cellular regeneration have made it an increasingly popular method for addressing the soft tissue repair related to osteoarthritis, hip, and back conditions.
Stem cells are essentially “proto cells” that can take on the qualities of whatever type of cell the body needs for rejuvenation and re-growth. They can regenerate cartilage, blood vessels, and soft tissues that cushion and support joints like menisci, spinal discs, and ligaments.
The Basics of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease. Unlike rheumatoid arthritis (classified as an autoimmune disease), osteoarthritis is usually associated with the effects of aging. However, obesity and traumatic injury to joints can also cause this type of arthritis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) over 54 million people in the United States have some form of arthritis, and osteoarthritis is the most common form.
OA wears away the cartilage at the ends of joints and causes inflammation of the soft tissues. Joint pain and swelling are the primary symptoms of OA, which can affect any joint within the body. As osteoarthritis progresses, it can break down the bone itself.
How Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy Works
Most FDA guidelines-compliant stem cell clinics use the patient’s own blood elements to produce platelet rich plasma. Though natural in essence, PRP does not occur naturally in nature. Blood plasma must be produced under laboratory conditions. It is, as its name implies, blood plasma with a high concentration of blood platelets, making it a safe and powerful tool in the treatment of osteoarthritis.
Blood platelets have several functions. They are essential in clotting blood at the site of wounds. When a cut on your hand stops bleeding, this is the caused by blood platelets. But platelets also secrete substances called growth factors and other proteins that regulate cell division, stimulate tissue regeneration, and promote healing.
In osteoarthritis therapy, PRP injections are introduced into the affected area.
This induces a “controlled inflammation” response that triggers a wound-healing cascade of proteins and growth factors. It stimulates the production of leukocytes and other disease and injury fighting elements. The results are the growth of fresh collagen, and the stimulation of new cartilage and bone; all essential in repairing the damage caused by osteoarthritis.
Main benefits of platelet rich plasma include:
- The creation of new blood vessels
- The creation of connective tissue cells like fibroblasts and hepatocytes
- The release of plasma proteins that help hasten cellular repair and overall healing
How Stem Cell Therapy is Used for Osteoarthritis
All growth, repair, regeneration, and rejuvenation of the body begin with stem cells. Stem cells are “packets of potential” that can be moved from one location of the body to another through injections.
Once there, stem cells perceive what type of cells are needed for repair and re-growth and become the cell type that is needed. In osteoarthritis therapy, the repair of bone, cartilage, and surrounding soft tissues is stimulated.
Stem cells have become widely used in the United States since the development of FDA guidelines-compliant adipose stem cell procedures. Extremely safe and minimally invasive, adipose stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis works in tandem with platelet rich plasma therapy to replace damaged tissue, bone, and cartilage. Stem cells also have anti-inflammatory qualities that reduce the joint pain and swelling commonly seen in osteoarthritis.
Contrary to what many people believe, stem cells are present in the body from birth to death.
But if this is true, you may ask, why do stem cells need to be harvested from one area of the body to another in order to address conditions like osteoarthritis? As we age, our bodies produce less and less circulating stem cells.
This dwindling supply of circulating stem cells is one of the primary reasons why we age, develop age-related diseases, and don’t heal as quickly from injuries. To address age-related conditions like osteoarthritis in ways that were once thought to be impossible, stem cells must be harvested from the areas in the body where they are stored.
Several years ago, it was discovered that the body stores an abundance of highly potent stem cells in adipose fat tissues (the fatty layer that lies just beneath the skin). This discovery led to the development of a safe and minimally invasive out-patient procedure that delivers effective stem cell therapy to the general public.
How PRP and Stem Cell Therapies Produce Results
Helps reduce dosages and dependency on medications
For many people suffering from osteoarthritis, there comes a time when over-the-counter medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, and NSAIDS lose much of their effectiveness in managing joint pain. This is not an unusual situation. The body tends to build up a tolerance when exposed to medication over long periods of time.
The same is true for prescription drugs. Prescribed medications like cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors can eventually lose their efficacy, forcing osteoarthritis sufferers to depend on drugs that can potentially do more harm than good if used for too long. Steroids and opioids are two examples of medication that can ultimately cause addiction and damage the body even further.
The use of stem cell and PRP therapies has been shown to help many people diagnosed with osteoarthritis reduce dependency on medication.
This reduction in the need for either OTCs or prescription drugs helps prevent the tolerance cycle in which more and more medication must be taken over time to control joint pain and other osteoarthritis symptoms. In some cases, patients have reported being able to stop taking OTCs or prescription drugs altogether after completing their therapy regimen.
Platelet rich plasma therapy and stem cell therapy has also been shown to help patients who do not respond well to osteoarthritis medications in the first place.
But whether the therapies are used for those seeking a way to reduce dependency or those who don’t do well with joint pain medication in the first place, the majority of people who undergo PRP and/or stem cell therapy report a significant reduction in symptoms including:
- Persistent pain
- Joint stiffness
- Range of motion issues
- Difficulties in getting proper exercise
- Sleep problems
PRP and stem cell therapies stimulate the body’s natural healing elements
Neither platelet rich plasma nor stem cells are drugs. They are components of the body’s own natural arsenal of disease fighters. As such, the risks of developing tolerance or dependency against the therapies are nil.
Studies have shown that natural concentrations of hyaluronic acid are improved in osteoarthritis patients who undergo these therapies. The therapies also improve angiogenesis, which is the creation of new blood vessels. Both of these elements aid in the reversal of joint damage and slows the progression of osteoarthritis and help in the relief of joint pain and inflammation.
Platelet rich plasma and stem cell therapies begin by essentially “fooling” the body into a healing response by causing a controlled and mild inflammatory reaction in the area being treated.
Everyone has experienced inflammation as a response to an injury or disease. It is a natural and essential part of any healing process. However, the natural inflammation that occurs can become overwhelmed or ineffective depending on the condition that has triggered it.
In the case of osteoarthritis, PRP and stem cell therapies jumpstart the introduction of proteins and growth factors such as leukocytes to promote the repair of cartilage, soft tissues, and bone.
Think of this controlled inflammatory response stimulated by PRP and stem cell therapies like the controlled burn method used by forest management departments. The controlled burns are designed to prevent wild fires and promote healthy re-growth of woodland areas.
Additionally, the joint pain and symptoms of osteoarthritis are brought under control by regenerative methods like platelet rich plasma and stem cell procedures.
How PRP and Stem Cell Therapies Differ
The differences between platelet rich plasma and stem cell therapies may be subtle, but they are significant. Both PRP and stem cells play critical and distinct roles in healing and tissue regeneration in osteoarthritis or any other medical conditions in which they come into play.
The public may be acquainted with the blood-clotting qualities of platelet rich plasma. But medical science also prizes PRP for its release of growth factors and how PRP coordinates their repair response. This is among the primary qualities that makes platelet rich plasma so effective in osteoarthritis and joint pain treatments.
The coordinated response acts like a time release, meting out the secretions of growth factors over a period of approximately a week.
PRP also promotes the creation of new blood vessels in the affected area. These qualities, in turn, paves the way for prolonged actions of stem cell therapy. It is helpful to think of platelet rich plasma as preparation for the continuing work of the stem cells.
You can think of PRP as the “fertilizer and water” while the stem cells act as are both “seed” and “gardener.” The stem cells are nourished by the PRP, begin a process known as differentiation, and direct themselves in the continued repair, re-growth, and rejuvenation of tissue and bone.
The History of PRP and Stem Cell Therapies
Platelet rich plasma therapy can be thought of as the descendant of an older treatment known as prolotherapy. Prolotherapy, which used glucose or saline to increase healing, was used as early as the 1930’s.
PRP therapy was developed in the 1970s. It was first used to augment post-surgical healing during an open heart surgery procedure in Italy in 1987.
Today, platelet rich plasma is still used as a surgical aid as well as an effective therapy in its own right. It remains a go-to therapy in professional sports and is commonly used not just for osteoarthritis, but for various other conditions such as joint pain associated with many diseases and injuries, tendonitis, and muscle and ligament conditions.
Meanwhile, modern stem cell therapy’s history is rooted in the first bone marrow transplant performed in 1968.
Like PRP procedures, the costs and invasiveness of early stem cell procedures kept it largely out of the realm of frequently used medical treatment for the general public. The expense and recovery periods of early harvesting methods relegated stem cell procedures largely to professional sports medicine or the wealthy.
Since the discovery that a particularly potent type of stem cell is stored in adipose fat, however, development of effective stem cell therapies has grown exponentially. Now minimally invasive, with little or no need for post-procedure recovery, today’s stem cell therapies available in the United States include:
- Autoimmune Diseases
- Back Pain/Injury
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
- Joint Pain/Injury
- Kidney Conditions
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Spinal Cord Injury
Osteoarthritis: Effective Therapy Through PRP and Stem Cell Therapies
The joint pain and debilitating symptoms of osteoarthritis are more manageable today than at any time in history. But, as with any medical procedure, it is imperative that therapies done with platelet rich plasma and/or stem cells be performed by a trained, licensed physician.
In the United States, legitimate regenerative medicine facilities (commonly called stem cell clinics) strictly adhere to FDA guidelines. The National Stem Cell Institute (NSI) urges people interested in PRP and stem cell therapeutic procedures to thoroughly research their stem cell clinic options. With that in mind, NSI offers tips below to help in the search.
What to Look for in a Stem Cell Medical Clinic
When searching for a qualified stem cell therapy center it’s important to remember that not all of them are created equal. Stem cells, when used properly, are your body’s most powerful means for healing that can repair everything from ligaments, tendons, and cartilage to organs including your liver, pancreas and lungs and even neurological tissue like your brain, nerves, and spinal cord.
Unfortunately, the majority of so-called “regenerative medicine clinics” in the world aren’t trained in the latest, most technologically advanced procedures and will, therefore, provide poor results if any.
The good news is the National Stem Cell Institute (NSI) has established the most advanced stem cell and platelet rich plasma procedures on the planet which has drawn patients from all over the world as well as professional athletes and celebrities because they are recognized as the best in the world at stem cell therapy.
What makes NSI Stem Cell the top stem cell clinic in the world is demonstrated in 5 key areas:
1. Highly trained and experienced, board-certified doctors and team members who have performed stem cell procedures on thousands of patients with incredible results.
2. Cutting edge procedures utilizing all that regenerative medicine has to offer for many chronic degenerative conditions.
3. Leading scientific researchers who follow the advanced guidelines to maximize the healing potential of your stem cells and to maintain compliance and ethics
4. Use of only the most potent and viable resource of living, viable stem cells and harvested on the same day. No vial that you can purchase will contain living stem cells. If there is no harvest then there are no stem cells.
5. Post-operative guidance for supporting stem-cell growth including rehabilitation, diet and supplement protocols. NSI is a full-service healthcare center focused on patient outcomes. Stem cell therapy is only one tool used to help improve patients’ lives.
Patients have raved about their experience at NSI Stem Cell Clinics testifying that it was their unique cutting-edge procedures that helped them experience a breakthrough when nothing else worked.
If you want to learn more about NSI Stem Cell Clinics, you can set up a complimentary consultation today to see if you are a candidate. You can contact the National Stem Cell Institute at (877) 278-3623.
* Disclaimer: Individual patient results may vary. As each patient’s problem is different, each treatment must be tailored around your specific needs.