According to the Centers for Disease Control, almost 25% of people in the United States suffer from arthritis. This ends up being close to 54 million people that are dealing with aches, pains, and swelling in their joints on a regular basis. About half of the people dealing with arthritis within the United States have their work, daily activities, and hobbies limited due to the results of these aches and pains, which is a huge statistic! (1)
There are many different forms of arthritis, and one of the main ones that people are affected with is osteoarthritis; gout is another common form, as well as rheumatoid arthritis. This disease can severely affect one’s quality of life, especially if the arthritis makes it hard to walk down to the mailbox or difficult to push a cart through the grocery store. Walking up stairs or opening jars are other common everyday tasks that might be hindered by the presence of arthritis, regardless of the form. (1)
With the improvement of functional medicine in today’s society, diseases like arthritis are able to be focused on in order to find a cure for the cause and the symptoms. One of the currently studied areas in healthcare regarding arthritis is using stem cells to regenerate and renew cartilage in the areas of pain within the joints. Studies have shown that the use of stem cells is helpful in those patients with arthritis, specifically osteoarthritis. (2)
Osteoarthritis causes issues within the joints of the body, and specifically causes a breakdown of the cartilage between bones. It also creates extreme stiffness within the body, excessive pain, and cracking noises in the joints (this is known as crepitus – you might hear a popping or cracking sound when moving). All of these factors combined can lead to a reduction in the overall quality of life, so finding a treatment for this disease is imperative. (3)
Since the cartilage that lies between the bones (otherwise known as articular cartilage) doesn’t really have any ability to be able to heal or repair itself, finding a way to delay the tissue breakdown and further delay the onset of injury occurrence is a priority. Studies have shown that stem cells are often able to help reduce the level of inflammation within the joints, which in turn helps to prevent the negative effects of osteoarthritis. In addition to increased viscosity and improved range of motion, stem cells can literally regenerate the cartilage creating a new surface to use! (5)
Osteoarthritis in the knee joint is one of the top areas of degeneration within the body, so finding a functional treatment that works to improve this has been researched multiple times. Since stem cells are so adaptable and can change themselves into many different types of cells, this kind of therapy is ideal in the process of healing osteoarthritis. Stem cells are also top of the line for being able to replicate themselves quickly, so healing and improved function is also noted. Time to notice changes with stem cells varies but our clients typically report 2-6 weeks and then they progressively improved from there. (3)
Investigating this type of arthritis within the knee joint, several studies have discovered that using stem cells for treatment has led to improvement within the joint for several patients. With the quality of the cartilage within the joints increasing due to the use of stem cells, this is a promising area of modern medicine that is prominent within the Boulder and Denver communities and those affected with different types of arthritis. (4)
With a functional medicine focus in areas like Denver, Colorado, this type of stem cell therapy is helping multiple patients reclaim their normal lifestyle and regenerate new cartilage within their joints.
There are other ways in order to manage your arthritis symptoms outside of functional medicine treatment as well; controlling weight, performing low-impact activities, and incorporating physical activity into your everyday lifestyle will aid in handling this disease. (1)
(2) Jevotovsky, D., Alfosno, A., Einhorn, T., Chiu, E. (2018). Osteoarthritis and stem cell therapy in humans; a systematic review. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, 26(6), pp. 711-729. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2018.02.906.
(3) Dubey, N., Mishra, V., Dubey, R., Syed-Abdul, S., Wang, J., Wang, P., Deng, W., (2018). Combating Osteoarthritis through Stem Cell Therapies by Rejuvenating Cartilage: A Review. Stem Cells International. doi: 10.1155/2018/5421019
(4) Iijima, H., Isho, T., Kuroki, H., Takahashi, M., & Aoyama, T. (2018). Effectiveness of mesenchymal stem cells for treating patients with knee osteoarthritis: a meta-analysis toward the establishment of effective regenerative rehabilitation. NPJ Regenerative medicine, 3, 15. doi:10.1038/s41536-018-0041-8
(5) Diekman, B., and Farshid, G. (2013). Stem cell-based therapies for osteoarthritis: challenges and opportunities. Current Opinion in Rheumatology, 25(1), pp. 119-126. doi: 10.1097/BOR.0b013e32835aa28d