Frequently Asked Questions

Why is stem cell therapy considered the latest innovation in treating back pain and joint pain?

Stem cells are specialized cells whose main job is to repair and heal. When your joints develop arthritis, inflammation and pain, there are not enough stem cells to repair the damage. If additional stem cells are injected into the painful joints, they orchestrate healing and provide pain relief.

Stem cells are harnessing the power of mother nature to repair arthritis. It is the most “natural” way to treat pain.

Unlike surgery, this is a minimally invasive procedure.

Unlike drugs, this stem cell therapy has no side effects.

This is the first time in the history of medicine we are able to treat pain by healing tissues.

Currently, it is the best way to treat pain.


How do stem cells work?

Stem cells work primarily by secreting very powerful anti-inflammatory proteins thereby reducing inflammation and pain. These proteins are way more effective than any man made anti-inflammatory medications, and they do not have any side effects. Stem cells are also very intelligent, and they secrete customized anti-inflammatory proteins that the joint needs.

By rejuvenating dying cells, regeneration of the joint is also seen. However, this regeneration is seen mostly at a microscopic level.

Stem cells also cause “Immunomodulation”. What this means is that they prevent the arthritis in the joint from getting worse.


Who is a candidate for stem cell therapy?

Patients need to meet 2 conditions to get stem cell therapy. 

One, the pain in the back or the joint should be severe enough that it is affecting the patients’ lifestyle. If the pain is not severe, stem cells do not get activated and procedure does not work.

Two, since stem cell therapy is not covered by insurance, patients should be capable of affording it.  

If you are a candidate for a joint replacement or spinal fusion, consider stem cell therapy if you can afford. The most important reason is that you can always have surgery if stem cell therapy fails. Unfortunately if surgery fails it is very difficult to do stem cell therapy.


What are the best stem cells to treat back pain and joint pain?

There are many kinds of commercially available stem cells. 

  1. Bone marrow stem cells.
  2. Fat stem cells
  3. Umbilical cord stem cells
  4. Amniotic tissue stem cells

Among all these, bone marrow stem cells are the best because they are the only stem cells that seem to be allowed by the FDA. They also have the best clinical data regarding both the safety and efficacy. Since the bone marrow stem cells are also coming from your own body, the risk of rejection, allergic reactions and infections is zero. 

Umbilical cord stem cells are known to cause severe infections mainly because of contamination. 

Numerous independent studies have shown that commercially available umbilical cord and amniotic tissue stem cell products do not have any stem cells at all. 

Since umbilical and amniotic tissue stem cells are coming from another human, there is a risk of allergic reactions, rejection and most importantly serious infections.


Is bone marrow aspiration painful?

Bone marrow aspiration is NOT painful. These are the reasons why

  1. Since we use sedation 
  2. Because of generous local anesthesia the area is numb.
  3. Most patients do not remember the procedure because of sedation.
  4. Small amounts of bone marrow [3-4 ml] are removed at a time.
  5. Pain medication is used before the procedure

Where to get the best stem cell therapy?

There are a lot of “scam” stem cell clinics who advertise heavily and take advantage of patients who are desperately seeking pain relief. Beware of these clinics. The characteristics of a legitimate stem cell clinic are

  1. The clinic is owned by a hospital or a physician performing the procedure.
  2. The physician doing the procedure is qualified to treat the area of pain.
  3. The physician performing the procedure has additional training in stem cell therapy.
  4. The clinic treats only pain conditions.
  5. The clinic uses bone marrow stem cells.
  6. The procedures are done using fluoroscopy or ultrasound guidance to precisely inject the areas of pain. 

Do not get the procedure done in a clinic which 

  1. Is owned by a business entity or a chiropractor.
  2. Allows a nurse practitioner, physician assistant or a poorly qualified physician to perform the procedure.
  3. Uses umbilical cord or amniotic tissue stem cells

What is the cost of the procedure?

To give you the best results, legitimate clinics extract stem cells from your bone marrow and are injected precisely into the areas of pain by a qualified physician. 

To maximize results, meticulous, time-consuming bone marrow aspiration must be done to get a large number of stem cells. Using a quick bone marrow aspiration technique will compromise the number of stem cells extracted. 

Additionally, the right areas must be injected. For example, if you want the best results for back pain, lumbar disc has to be injected. In patients with severe joint pain, the bone of the joint is usually damaged. This bone has to be injected to get the best result.  

Results from this procedure are also depend directly on the quality of the physician performing the therapy.

This procedure usually takes about 2 hours. If the procedure is NOT performed in this fashion, you will NOT see good long term results. These clinics usually charge the patients $4000 to $6000.


Will the stem cell procedure help in older patients?

Bone marrow stem cells are taken from the iliac crest [back of the hip]. In this area, there are a significant number of stem cells. We are seeing excellent results in most of our elderly patients.


Is stem cell therapy procedure painful?

This procedure is not painful because of sedation and generous use of local anesthesia. Most patients do not remember the procedure. Fortunately, no general anesthesia is required, making this procedure safer.


Is there a lot of pain after the stem cell procedure?

Generally no. However, if your discs or bone are injected, you may have a flare up for a few days. At StemCures, we treat this pain aggressively with pain killers.


What are the results of stem cell therapy?

Most patients get good results with stem cell therapy. Not everyone responds to it. In our clinic we are seeing 70-80% of patients get excellent results. Many clinical studies are showing that this procedure helps with back pain and knee pain. These studies also did not report any complications.


How long will the results from stem cell therapy last?

Fortunately, patients get many years of relief from this procedure. In one back pain study, even after 5 years, patients continued to see pain relief. In one knee study, pain did not come back even after 12 years. Since it is a new procedure, we do not know the upper limit of the duration of pain relief.


Is there a lot of pain after the stem cell procedure?

Generally no. However, if your discs or bone are injected, you may have a flare up for a few days. At StemCures, we treat this pain aggressively with pain killers.


Will stem cell therapy regrow cartilage or disc?

Unfortunately no. You will not get a new joint or spine. There is regeneration but at a microscopic level. However, your pain may get significantly better.


Does the stem cell procedure have to be done multiple times?

No. It is a one time procedure. Since it works for many years it does not have to be repeated.


Are there any complications from stem cell therapy?

Multiple studies have shown that there are no major complications of stem cells when used to treat back pain and joint pain.

However, complications have been reported if

  1. Umbilical cord stem cells have been used
  2. Procedure is performed by poorly qualified providers
  3. Stem cells have been injected in the wrong areas

Hence, it is absolutely crucial that you do your research and get the stem cell therapy at the clinic.