June 26, 2017 - Monday
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Regenerative Medicine and Chronic Pain

By Dr. Ricardo Leano

Regenerative Medicine and Chronic PainRegenerative medicine involves the process of replacing or regenerating tissues to restore normal function. With the use of adult stem cells, so-called mesenchymal stem cells, we can stimulate your own body’s own repair mechanisms to functionally heal previously irreparable tissues or organs. Those mesenchymal cells have the capacity to differentiate into diverse tissues. In this way, those cells can replace and repair tissues like ligaments, nerve fibers, cartilage, and more. They have an intrinsic ability to accumulate and migrate, if necessary, to the site of injury and inflammation. Once there, they secrete growth factors, reduce inflammation, promote the formation of new vasculature, and heal the tissue.

They also have hypoimmunogenic and immunosuppressive activity avoiding reactions when using allogenic stem cells. This means that we can use autologous stem cells (harvested from yourself) or allogenic stem cells (harvested from another individual). We use allogenic stem cells because the biological activity, as well as, the concentration of mesenchymal stem cells from adipose tissue and bone marrow reduces dramatically over the years. Also, the quality of those cells is not the best in certain medical
conditions like SLE (lupus), DM (diabetes), RA (arthritis).

Stem cell therapy has also the ability to replace cells lost from aging or tissue injury. Theoretically, we can increase the life span of an individual if we reduce the process of aging. It has been used as anti-aging therapy. Activated stem cells heal, build and repair damaged tissue. The cells, by themselves, identify the site of injury even if they are injected far from the site of injury.

Mesenchymal stem cells can be injected into different tissues. Intravenous and intra-articular are the most common sites of injection. Therapeutic applications include chronic pain management (knees, hips, shoulders, discs), tissue/nerve preservation (CRPS, fibromyalgia, diabetic or any form of neuropathy), soft tissue repair/regeneration (cosmetic), and advanced dermal wound care management (diabetic foot).
Some of the medical problems treated with stem cells include osteoarthritis, degenerative disc
disorder (DDD), spinal cord injury, trigeminal neuralgia, CRPS, chronic nociceptive and neuropathic pain, chronic pain associated to degenerative neurologic disorders like MS (multiple sclerosis), among others.

Osteoarthritis is a very common pathology in the US seen in the aging population, resulting in cartilage destruction associated to chronic pain and reduced functioning. It affects all joints, especially weight bearing joints. Stem cells have shown to improve pain control and function. Also, regenerate full thickness articular cartilage, which has been demonstrated in different studies with MRIs even 2 years after injection. The procedure is simple, cost effective and requires no hospitalization. The cells are harvested and injected the same day. The patient avoids all the risks associated to the surgical intervention, as well as so many weeks of physical therapy, rehabilitation and braces wearing.

Stem cell therapy may offer palliative or curative potential in patients with neuropathic pain from multiple etiologies like CRPS, fibromyalgia, diabetic neuropathy, etc. Stem cells can replace damaged neuronal tissue, protect against progressive nerve damage, and release soluble factors to reverse and repair the pathology of those entities.

Before undergoing a major orthopedic surgery, it would be wise to try stem cell therapy. The positive response is as high as 90% in hips; 83% in shoulders; 80% in knees and back. Low back disc injections start to have a positive response as soon as 1 week; knees in 2 months; shoulders in 3 months. Besides the avoidance of the risks of surgery, the costs of surgical, anesthesiology and hospital copayments may justify to try this novel therapy.

For any consultation, call
(561) 248 1166
for an appointment with
Dr. Ricardo Leano at
Palm Beach Pain, LLC

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