In recent years, regenerative injection therapies (like stem cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma, or PRP) have become very popular as treatment options for back, spine and sports injuries. Unfortunately, the rapid growth in this practice also means there’s a lot of misunderstanding, misperception and even suspicion surrounding these types of treatments. Let’s take a few minutes to dispel four of the most common myths surrounding regenerative injection therapy.
MYTH: Regenerative therapies are experimental, unproven and/or risky.
This myth is perpetuated in part because these therapies are fairly new to widespread use, and in part perhaps because the idea of “regeneration” seems like a page lifted from a science fiction novel. In fact, regenerative therapies have been around in some form for decades; they just have only come into the mainstream over the past few years. In addition, these practices have become popular because they have produced documented, proven results. As to the risk, these therapies generate little risk because they are not natural agents, not foreign agents. They actually use substances from the body’s own tissues to help the body heal itself faster. Regenerative injection therapies are proven safe, and in most cases, effective.
MYTH: Stem cells only come from unborn embryos.
The term “stem cell therapy” in particular is concerning to some people because of the controversy surrounding using embryonic stem cells (cells from unborn/aborted fetuses) in certain types of research. Actually, we all have stem cells in our bodies right now — in our bone marrow and in our gut, to name two places. With regenerative stem cell therapy, we use stem cells from the patient’s own body — NOT from embryos — to facilitate tissue regeneration at the point of injury.
MYTH: Stem cells can be rejected.
Actually, the risk of rejection is quite minimal, for the same reason we just mentioned above: We are using the patient’s own stem cells to aid in regeneration. In almost all cases, the body recognizes its own cellular signatures, so injecting your own cells into an injury site is highly unlikely to cause problems.
MYTH: Regenerative Injection Therapy works the same way for everyone.
While some people are hesitant about these therapies in general, others mistakenly see them as a cure-all, miracle treatment, expecting almost instant results. The truth is that regenerative injection therapy is a natural solution to help the body heal itself — and just as no two people are exactly alike, not everyone responds the same way to the therapy. Results may vary from person to person, and from injury to injury — which is why it’s helpful to have a variety of other treatment options available in addition to PRP or stem-cell injection therapies.
To learn even more about regenerative injection therapy and determine whether you are a good candidate for treatment, contact Polaris Spine and Neurosurgery Center today at 404-256-2633.