One of the most commonly asked questions for patients considering stem cell therapy is how long stem cell therapy results will last. Stem cell therapy has produced tremendously effective pain relief for many patients. However, the full scope of those results will vary. Understanding stem cell treatment, how it is administered, and how long it takes to experience results can help prospective patients better understand what to expect in the long term.
What Is Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem cell therapy is an increasingly common type of regenerative medicine that takes a patient’s healthy stem cells and uses them to replace damaged cells in parts of the body where they are experiencing chronic pain. These healthy adult stem cells recognize inflammation, and they begin to produce anti-inflammatory proteins, leading to relief for the patients as inflammation is reduced.
An alternative to many major surgical procedures, stem cell therapy can be highly effective in treating pain and injuries in patients. In stem cell procedures, stem cells are taken from the patient’s bone marrow before being processed in a centrifuge machine, which separates the valuable part of those cells, increasing the potency. These cells are then injected into the specific area of the patient’s body that is causing pain.
How Long Does Stem Cell Therapy Take?
One of the most significant benefits of stem cell therapy is that it is performed in a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure. It is administered as one of four different kinds of injections: intravenous injections, intra-articular, intramuscular, or through an intrathecal procedure, more commonly referred to as a lumbar puncture. The type of procedure patients experience depends on their pain and inflammation location.
Stem cell treatments are typically administered in an office environment, and the procedure takes approximately ninety minutes. Treatments are generally painless, especially compared to surgical alternatives, and patients don’t usually experience any significant side effects. However, they may experience fatigue, headaches, fever, chills, and nausea shortly after the procedure. These side effects usually go away after a few hours. Patients are recommended to take one week off from work immediately following the procedure for optimum recovery. Patients are also encouraged to minimize activity in the part of the body where treatment was received for one month following the procedure.
It’s worth noting that there are two types of stem cell therapies: those approved by the FDA and those that are not. The FDA-approved stem cell therapies that are most commonly used are those that treat certain types of blood cancers. Before undergoing any stem cell treatment, patients are encouraged to verify the clinic performing the procedure uses bone marrow stem cells exclusively, as those are the only stem cells approved for use by the FDA.
How Long Does Stem Cell Therapy Last?
Stem cell injection therapy cannot cure inflammation or injuries entirely. Still, it has been shown to help alleviate pain by allowing the body to heal enough that the pain becomes more manageable. After undergoing a stem cell therapy treatment, new cells will continue to be generated within the body for up to one year. Some patients experience relief in as little as two weeks, while others may take several weeks to months to feel results. Patients are encouraged to participate in physical therapy after receiving stem cell injections to help facilitate increased healing. Patients may feel some pain shortly after treatment, but it will slowly subside as the stem cells get to work easing pain and healing injuries.
While stem cell therapy has been regarded as highly effective for patients experiencing all different types of pain, the long-term outcomes vary from patient to patient, from case to case. Some patients with arthritis, for example, have reported results lasting six months, while others have experienced reduced pain for several years. The average patient receives five to ten years of pain relief, and some clinical trials have seen results lasting up to fifteen years. Though patients rarely need to receive multiple procedures, it is possible to repeat it if necessary.
Several factors influence a patient’s outcome, including the location of the inflammation and the severity of the injury or condition. Though stem cell technology is still considered a new science, clinical trials have shown patient success rates ranging from 70 to 80% of patients reporting significant results.
Though there is no way to predict specific outcomes for patients choosing to undergo stem cell treatments, studies have shown that stem cell therapy has an overwhelmingly positive effect on patients experiencing chronic pain. Stem cell therapy might be the perfect solution for adults looking for pain relief.