While pain relievers might be needed at times for joint pain, they all have side effects, and none solve the problem that caused the pain. Drugs seek to interfere with pain perception one way or another by temporarily suppressing the symptoms. That is also true for injected steroid drugs. If the cartilage or cushioning tissue in a joint is missing, the steroid shot will not replace it. In fact, because steroids have side effects that can degenerate joint tissue, they are generally safe to use only about three times.

 Surgical joint replacements just throw away the joint and put in a new one. That technology is impressive, but the manmade substitution is not as good or as long-lasting as the one nature provided. Surgeries run sometimes-serious risks associated with anesthesia and potential infection or rejection. The cost is high and the recovery time is long. The practice of medicine has begun to slowly adopt stem cell therapy as an alternative that is safer, more effective and less expensive. Doctors committed to patient welfare will find convincing support for stem cell therapy in the large number of scientific studies showing impressive results.

 Stem cell therapy is superior to either of the mainstream approaches because it rebuilds joints naturally, the same way that they were created before birth. The undifferentiated stem cells not only become whatever type of cell the body needs, they also fight inflammation and signal our immune system and tissues to get busy healing. X-rays show that cushioning reappears even in bone-on-bone knees. Unlike other kinds of therapeutic injections that require precise placement into a joint, stem cells are attracted to the trouble spots.

 It is possible to surgically extract adult stem cells from bone marrow or body fat, but those stem cells are not very plentiful, and may mirror the condition of the aging patient. Stem cells are also present in amniotic fluid, but that liquid also contains potential allergens. The most effective, purest stem cells are those from donated human umbilical cords (which would otherwise become medical waste). The donated umbilical cord material is then prepared in tightly controlled U.S. Food and Drug Administration-inspected facilities like blood banks.

There are various grades of quality in finished stem cell products from different providers. The most effective sources carefully monitor stem cell quality, as well as density and vitality.

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