Stem Cell Therapy: A Boon for Baby-Boomer Aging Joints

Whoever said that age is a state of mind might want to check with the 30+ million U.S. adults the CDC estimates live with the very real, physical discomfort of osteoarthritis (OA). This wear-and-tear type of arthritis occurs as the cartilage in your joints deteriorates.


OA is the most common form of arthritis in the U.S., generally happens as you age, and typically progresses over time. It’s often responsible for those creaky, stiff, painful joints that have you rolling rather than springing out of bed each morning.

   

Until recently, the most common advice for folks with OA was to try anti-inflammatories for discomfort, keep moving, and be kind to your joints until the damage is significant enough for joint replacement.


At STAR Ortho, we certainly want you to be kind to your joints and keep moving. We also often recommend you try stem-cell therapy to help repair and rebuild your deteriorating cartilage—before surgery becomes a necessity.

    

We’re happy to explain stem-cell therapy and why it may be your best nonsurgical treatment option for painful, aging joints.

The basics of osteoarthritis

Younger adults can experience symptoms of OA, but the discomfort and immobility it causes is much more prevalent in people over 60. Hips, knees, and other weight-bearing joints are most commonly affected but any joint can develop OA.


It occurs when cartilage within your joints begins to wear and break down. This slippery, tough tissue helps keep your joints moving freely and acts as a cushion between bones. As cartilage ages, it wears away and affected joints become inflamed, painful, and stiff.


Eventually, the cartilage may deteriorate completely. This leaves you with significant pain that’s caused by bone rubbing against bone within the problem joint.

The role of stem cells

Your body uses a complex combination of cellular and chemical activity to promote natural healing and repair of damaged tissues, including muscles, tendons, ligaments, bone, and cartilage. Unfortunately, as you age, these restorative/regenerative functions slow down and become less effective.


Most of your body’s cells are specialists. Heart cells, for instance, work in your heart. Others, such as liver, skin, and lung cells stick within their designated system. Stem cells are different. They can transform into a variety of cell/tissue types, including cartilage.


Stem cells also produce various chemicals, such as growth factors, that signal other cells to repair damaged tissue, decrease inflammation, and slow tissue breakdown. These adult stem cells are highly concentrated in your bone marrow, adipose (fat) tissue, and blood.

Stem-cell therapy for OA

The goal of stem-cell therapy for OA is to boost your body’s natural ability to repair or rebuild damaged cartilage in the affected joint(s), which naturally decreases pain and improves mobility.


Thanks to advances in medical technology, it’s a relatively simple process. First, we use local anesthetic to prevent pain as we extract and separate stem cells from your bone marrow. We then numb the targeted injection site, deliver the stem-cell solution into the joint, and let these regenerative cells do their job.

    

While it’s still new and research studies are ongoing, it’s considered a safe therapy for OA when delivered by a qualified specialist. Many of our patients report significant improvement in mobility and decreased pain following a stem-cell injection. It’s not the mythical fountain of youth, but may rewind the clock when it comes to aging joints.  


Schedule your evaluation today at STAR Ortho to learn if you’re a good candidate for this innovative, regenerative treatment.

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