Osteoarthritis (OA) is a condition where the cartilage at the end of bones starts to break down and wear away. This condition can lead to stiffness, swelling, pain, and loss of mobility. While there is no cure for OA, there are a number of treatments that can help manage this condition. If you have just been diagnosed with OA, you may be looking at cortisone shots and other treatments. While cortisone shots can be helpful for some, there are some downsides. Take a look at why cortisone shots could be an issue and how stem cell therapy could be a better alternative.
Why Are Frequent Cortisone Shots an Issue?
Cortisone shots are used for a number of inflammatory diseases since these injections can relieve pain and swelling in specific areas of the body. However, it's important to limit the frequency of these shots, as too many can potentially weaken the cartilage within a joint. Because of its hormone-like effects, cortisone can also have other side effects such as increasing blood sugar or increasing blood pressure. Some patients with OA may be just fine with less-frequent cortisone shots and not experience any side effects. However, if you are still feeling stiffness and pain even with these injections, you may want to consider other therapies like stem cell therapy.
What Is Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem cells are immature cells that have the ability to divide into other kinds of cells throughout the body. Because these cells have the potential to perform many different jobs, they can be used to heal cells in many different areas of the body. For instance, a doctor can take stem cells from fat tissue or from bone marrow and then inject them into knee joints to help rebuild damaged cartilage. Because stem cells are collected from the patient, there's less risk of unwanted reactions. The side effects are minimal, such as temporary swelling, bruising, or pain at the site of injection.
How Does This Therapy Help Osteoarthritis?
The great benefit of stem cell therapy is that you don't need multiple treatments to feel the benefits. Stem cell therapy can help people with OA reduce pain, inflammation, and damaged cartilage. This treatment could prevent the kneed for knee surgery. You can reduce the risks of frequent cortisone shots by using stem cell therapy on its own or in the interim between cortisone shots. Keep in mind that stem cell therapy tends to work better in people with early stages of OA. One study found that this therapy can improve the quality of life and mobility in patients going through earlier-degeneration stages.
If knee pain stem cell therapy sounds like a good fit for your knee pain, reach out to a health and medical provider today for more details.