At Utah Stem Cells, our goal is to help as many patients as possible to become pain free and achieve substantially improved functionality. We feel that our approach to musculoskeletal pain and disability is distinct from other non-surgical approaches because we treat an important cause of these ailments that is often overlooked – joint regeneration of damaged tissues and tightening of ligament laxity. Utah Stem Cells specializes in an advanced form of prolotherapy, which is a relatively unfamiliar and under-utilized non-surgical treatment for musculoskeletal disorders. Prolotherapy has been practiced for over 80 years by a small but growing group of physicians with great results. Experienced doctors using Prolotherapy have had great success in eliminating many forms of musculoskeletal pain for a very long time.
In fact, in 1957, a low back study published in the Journal of American Medical Association showed a cure rate of 82% with no recurrence of pain in a 14 year follow-up (http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1153924#References). This fact is even more impressive considering a recent study showed only 20% of all back surgeries are considered to be successful after 2 years, and 10-40% of patients suffer from long term complications from failed back surgery syndrome. Back surgery is the second-leading surgical procedure performed in the U.S. with approximately 500,000 surgeries performed annually.
What is Prolotherapy
Prolotherapy stimulates the body to repair the painful injured area(s) when the body’s natural healing process is not able to do the job on its own. Prolotherapy is an accurate injection of a non-toxic substance into the injured tissue, which causes a temporary and purposeful therapeutic inflammation. The resultant inflammation initiates a beneficial healing cascade causing an increase in blood supply, growth factors, and stem cells. This eventually produces an increase in collagen that essentially grows stronger tissues and cartilage.
Prolotherapy has the unique ability to treat not only the pain, but the cause of the pain. This results in permanent stabilization of the joint and, therefore, an end to pain and weakness-all without drugs, surgery, scar tissue, anesthesia or side effects.
Are the Injections Painful?
When done by a skilled practitioner, patients tolerate the procedure well. Because there is local anesthetic in the solution, patients may feel an initial relief of pain immediately following the treatment. As you may have read, Dr. Greenberg was able to self-administer his injections to heal himself of pain sustained from a car accident.
Because Prolotherapy induces inflammation, patients may experience a mild swelling and stiffness after treatments and should avoid any particularly heavy-duty exertion for the duration. Otherwise, they are able to pursue their normal lives and work schedules in between sessions.
How Long Until I See Results?
Each situation is unique and the length of treatment depends on a number of factors: nutritional status, ability to heal, overall health and the severity of the injury. Prolotherapy treatments are administered on an individual basis, every two to three weeks on average. Some patients may experience complete relief from pain and restoration of function after only one or two treatments.
In general, one single Stem Cell treatment is needed in all joints. In rare occasions a follow up PRP treatment might be beneficial to bring the patient’s pain level to 0. It can take up to six weeks after the injection for the body to complete the healing process. These are general estimates and actual healing time depends on the severity of the injury, the chronicity of the injury, and the person’s individual genetics for healing.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a revolutionary regenerative medicine procedure in which a substance derived from patients own blood is used to speed the healing and alleviate pain caused by a variety of musculoskeletal issues. This substance contains healing factors and bioactive proteins called growth factors and cell markers. These cells are vital for tissue regeneration and repair. With advanced techniques, we can concentrate and process these regenerative healing cells in a simple outpatient setting.
The PRP can be injected alone or in combination with Stem Cells. Ideally, the first Prolotherapy treatment employed for the treatment of a damaged joint would include the combination of Stem Cells with PRP. Subsequent treatments may be necessary, and these follow-up Prolotherapy treatments are usually with PRP alone.
How Does PRP Therapy Work?
During PRP therapy, a small sample of the patient’s blood is drawn (similar to a lab test sample) and placed in a centrifuge that spins the blood at high speeds, separating the platelets from other blood components. The process takes less than 15 minutes and increases the concentration of platelets and growth factors up to 500% greater than levels found in your own blood. The concentrated Platelet Rich Plasma is then injected into and around the point of injury, strengthening the body’s natural healing agent.
What Are The Benefits of PRP?
If you have a tendon or ligament injury, arthritic joint, meniscus tear, rotator cuff injury, shoulder pain, or bursitis and traditional methods have not provided relief, then PRP therapy may be the solution. The procedure is less aggressive and less expensive than surgery. It heals tissue with minimal to no scarring. PRP can alleviate further degeneration of tissues and can lessen the severity of arthritis. There is very little downtime or recovery time and patients can resume their normal daily activities almost right away.
The Physiological Effects of PRP Injections Include:
- Increase tissue regeneration (tendon, ligament, soft tissue)
- Decrease inflammation
- Decrease pain
- Increase collagen (base component of connective tissue)
- Increase bone density and repair
- Increase angiogenesis (development of new blood cells)
Stem Cell Prolotherapy
Stem Cell therapy is a highly effective treatment in which stem cells are injected into an injured area. Stem cells are responsible for rebuilding and regenerating the body. They are living cells that are able to transform themselves into many different types of tissue, and are therefore able to differentiate into ligaments, tendons, bone, nerve, and cartilage.
When an injury occurs, it is the stem cells that are released and summoned by the body to rebuild damaged muscle, joints or cartilage. By injecting these stem cells directly into the damaged area, the doctor is able to assist and accelerate the body’s natural healing process.
At Utah Stem Cells Dr. Bill Cimikoski uses the cells from Amniotic sac and Umbilical Cord cells from a healthy live birth. Amniotic stem cells are collected from the amniotic sac during a scheduled C-section, from a healthy baby with donor approval from the mother. Amniotic stem cells are multipotent, which means they have the potential to differentiate into several different kinds of cells in the body. Umbilical Cord blood stem cells are collected from the cord blood right after the birth of a healthy baby, also with the approval of the donor mother. Cord blood stem cells are biologically younger and are more flexible compared to adult stem cells. They have less risk of complications, and are immediately available and can minimize disease progression in early treatment.
Joint Regeneration FAQ’s
What are the advantages of Stem Cell Prolotherapy?
The advantages of using a solution containing Placental Stem Cells over other traditional therapies are the astounding physiologic benefits that stem cells supplement to the healing cascade. Placental Stem Cells are immature undifferentiated cells that have the ability to become whatever cells the body requires them to be.
When they are injected into an area that requires wound healing and growth they are activated to proliferate and differentiate into the needed types of tissue.
Stem cells have the potential to become cartilage, tendon, ligament, bone and muscle, as well as the ability to promote other healing factors, which are very vital to the repair.
They do not carry any significant risks for infection, rejection, or adverse reactions. These many added benefits make amniotic stem cells far superior to other elementary solutions, which have traditionally been utilized for prolotherapy.
Stem Cell Prolotherapy in the Media
This cutting edge solution to the longstanding debilitating dilemma of dealing with chronic joint pain and acute sports injuries is coming to
light in the media recently with many high profile athletes undergoing this therapy.
Peyton Manning flew to Germany a couple of years ago to have the procedure done on his neck and has made a triumphant return to the NFL.
Tiger Woods underwent treatment in his left knee following surgery several years ago and responded excellently.
When Kobe Bryant injured his Achilles tendon recently, he immediately underwent the procedure to help him get back to the court more quickly and with a more successful repair.
Several major league baseball players have been treated successfully, including L.A. Dodger’s pitcher, Takashi Saito, and New York Yankees’ pitcher, Bartolo Colon, to name a few.
At last, what was once only available to the influential and elite is now available to anyone who wants a better quality of life through improved functionality and decreased pain.
Why is Stem Cell Prolotherapy better than alternative methods of treating chronic joint pain?
The procedure lasts about 30—40 minutes, using local anesthetic with very little discomfort, and after it is completed you will be able to walk out of the office and drive yourself home.
This is in contrast to prolonged hospital stays with extensive down time and expense associated with various surgical procedures, including total knee replacements. The average cost of a total knee replacement in the U.S. is $40,000, and often associated with mediocre results, especially with regard to functionality.
Stem Cell Prolotherapy offers a much better solution with potentially better results, especially mobility, at a fraction of the cost. There are other treatment modalities sometimes used to lubricate the knee joint, such as Hyaluronate, known by the brand names, “Synvisc” or “Euflexxa”.
The problem with these is that they are only a temporary solution, which at best will only last for about six months before the procedure will need to be repeated. This is in stark contrast to the permanent healing and regeneration, which is achieved with the Stem Cell Prolotherapy.
However, Hyaluronate can be used in conjunction with the Stem Cell Prolotherapy so that you can enjoy the benefits of both therapies, if you choose.