There’s an increasing amount of chatter, excitement (and yes, sometimes hype) these days about stem cell therapy as a method of accelerating the healing process for injuries. This regenerative injection therapy has already shown promise in treating conditions like osteoarthritis in the knee and chronic wounds, as well as some spinal conditions and back injuries. But does the treatment live up to the hype? Does stem cell therapy actually work for back injuries?
The short answer is yes — but with conditions. To put things in perspective, here’s what you need to know.
Stem cell therapy is a minimally invasive method to help the body heal itself faster. Our bodies consist of many types of cells, and millions of them die daily and need to be replaced. Stem cells are non-specific cells in our body that can develop into whatever type of cell the body needs to repair or replace. With stem cell therapy, we extract some of these stem cells from the patient’s abdominal region, process them and reinject them at the injury site so these cells can get to work replacing damaged tissue. Studies, research, and on-the-ground use have shown that the body can heal itself more quickly with more of these cells present.
While stem cell therapy shows great promise, it’s important not to inflate your expectations about its abilities. It’s not a cure — it’s a therapy. Just as physical therapy can assist in the healing process of injuries over time, stem cell therapy facilitates the body’s healing of itself — a process that still occurs over time.
It’s important to note that while stem cell therapy is demonstrated to be safe when administered properly, it’s not currently an FDA-approved treatment, which means there are plenty of opportunities for ill-trained practitioners to take unfair advantage of the unsuspecting. (This is why we discourage the “hype” around the treatment.) Stem cell therapy can be administered incorrectly, which can be ineffective at best and even cause more problems at the worst. For that reason, especially when it comes to back injuries, stem cell therapy should only be administered by a licensed medical professional — preferably at a facility that employs this therapy as only one of a wide range of possible treatments. To learn more about stem cell therapy for back injuries and whether you might be a good candidate for the procedure, call Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center today at 404-256-2633.