PRP and stem cell treatment therapies have been heralded as the latest in advanced medicine. From treating joint issues such as cartilage depletion to much more acute injuries such as post-surgical damage, these regenerative medicines can treat a wide range of chronic pains and help people achieve their functional goals much quicker than if left to their own devices.
Though these treatments are effective at reducing recovery periods and amplifying the body’s natural healing mechanisms, there are many things a patient can do in order to boost the effects of each individual treatment. Below are a few tips which we think may help those who are looking to apply regenerative therapies to their injuries.
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1. Chose the right treatment for you
Making the right choice when it comes to regenerative therapy can be quite difficult. Between getting lost in clinical jargon and doctors promoting lacklustre treatment additives, a typical patient can have a hard time deciding which therapy is right for their issue.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy is a tried and true method of boosting the body’s natural healing factors. Since the 1970s PRP has been applied in a clinical setting with much success for patients with acute damage.
The active ingredient in PRP are platelets isolated from the patient’s blood. These platelets possess special chemical properties which flourish after being injected back in the patient’s body. After injection, the platelets send out chemical impulses which draw growth factors from the body to help repair damage.
Stem cell therapies are much more nuanced. While properly sourced stem cells can be highly potent, many doctors, especially those who do not specialize in stem cell therapy, tend to derive their active ingredients from lacklustre sources.
For the best results, make sure your doctor is harvesting the source materials directly from you. By harvesting bone marrow or fat tissue directly from the patient, processing these tissues, and reinjecting them back into the patient, the chances of rejection are vastly reduced and the treatments have been shown to be much more successful.
2. Use PRP and Stem Cell Therapy Jointly
While both of these regenerative therapies provide healing benefits on their own, when used conversely with one another, their effects tend to magnify. PRP or Stem Cell Treatment propel the body’s healing processes in different ways. Whereas PRP calls on the body’s natural healing processes to repair damage, stem cells can create a suitable environment for repair as well as provide the raw material to heal the damage.
If used in unison, the effects of both therapies can bounce off of each other to amplify their effects and provide a much quicker recovery from injury.
3. Cord Blood Stem Cells vs. Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
The source material for a specific stem cell therapy is very important. While both cord blood stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSCs) can provide relief from acute injury or damage, typically cord blood stem cells are stored and shipped in such a way that by the time they reach a patient, the number of stem cells within the treatment is virtually useless.
IPSCs, on the other hand, are typically taken from a patient and administered on the same day. This means that IPSC injections have a much healthier supply of the active ingredient within the treatment and are thus more capable of repairing the damage.
Additionally, IPSC treatments can be stored and left to multiply in order to increase the active ingredient within the treatment. These treatments are typically not outpatient procedures and may take up to a week before they can be administered into a patient – when the stem cell count has reached a peak.
Always ask about source material before taking any stem cell treatment.
4. Application Method is Critical
Facilities that offer stem cell treatments as a sidebar treatment (meaning they are not specialized in stem cell or regenerative therapies) typically administer the treatment through a simple injection.
This is not the case for specialized regenerative clinics. In most cases, these clinics have special equipment which they can use to most accurately place the treatment within the patient. Doctors at regenerative therapy clinics often use guided X-ray imaging in order to get a live view of the area in which they are administering their treatment.
By using these specialized tools, doctors can make sure that the treatment reaches the most precise locations in order to ensure that the treatment is as successful as possible.
5. Rest and Recuperate for a Period of Time After Treatment
As with any treatment method, rest is critical to ensure the long-lasting success patients seek. For PRP or Stem Cell Treatment, recovery periods are very minute – lasting only a weeks’ worth of time at most. Minor side-effects such as swelling and stiffness may arise immediately after injection, but these typically go away within the week and most patients are known to feel the effects of these treatments almost immediately after injection.
6. Schedule a Check-Up
Though regenerative therapies are effective when left to their own devices, scheduling a checkup within a period of three months is advised. Not only will this give doctors a chance to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment, but it can also help them discover other possible problem areas before they become too much of a burden.
If a follow up is scheduled in a timely manner, doctors may even be able to extract extra tissues in the first session and apply a cultivated stem cell or PRP treatment during the follow-up. This cultivated sample of tissues should have a healthy store of stem cells and should promote further healing.
While regenerative therapies may still be in their relative infancy, they show much promise for the future of acute injury treatment. Advancements in the field of stem cell science have already led to several breakthroughs in the ways we treat autoimmune illnesses, blood disorders, certain types of cancer, baldness, skin erosion and much more. As the clinical data are pooled and analyzed by the FDA, there is a bright future ahead for advancements in the way we treat many of the world’s top illnesses.