The evidence on the therapy’s efficacy is inconclusive, and the patient-reported levels of improvement typically fall short of a slam-dunk, but their reports of pain relief of at least 50% are relatively consistent — and in the challenging realm of chronic pain treatment, that’s getting somewhere, said Harry Adelson, ND, medical director of Docere Clinics in Park City, Utah.
“To put this into perspective, arthroscopic surgery has been shown to be no better than placebo or conservative medical treatment for arthritis of the knee,” he told Medscape Medical News, “while autologous MSC therapy shows significant benefit 3 years out from treatment.” …
The therapy is based on the potential healing capabilities of MSCs, which contain growth factors and signalling proteins that can instigate the regeneration of damaged tissue, Dr. Adelson explained.
“We’re taking stem cells from where they live and injecting them to where the problem is and then stepping back and letting nature take its course, allowing the body’s natural healing cascade to occur.”
The stem cells can be harvested and concentrated or isolated from bone marrow or fat, respectively, to be reinjected directly into damaged or degenerated tissues.
The therapy is most commonly used to treat such conditions as degenerative disc disease, desiccated discs, spinal stenosis (both central and foraminal), facet arthrosis, sacroiliac joint syndrome, osteoarthritis of any joint, and sports/overuse injuries, Dr. Adelson said.
While Dr. Adelson said he has seen “not a single serious adverse outcome” among the approximately 2000 patients he’s treated, he advised warning patients who undergo bone marrow aspiration from the posterior superior iliac spine not to lie on a hard floor or to do sit ups on a hard floor for at least 2 weeks to avoid formation of a painful spur.