This is the fourth of my 4-part series of articles on musculoskeletal injections. I’m writing these to help my readers to understand what’s available to you, what the different injections do, and the reasons you should get them, or not. I have mentioned in previous articles in this series, that I’m finding that many patients don’t really know what they were injected with from other offices.
Most patients just want to feel better, and get back to their lives as they were before the pain, and have a tendency to get injections without understanding what they are getting.
I’ll talk about a very effective and sophisticated type of injection today. Most of you know the treatment known as stem cells. Today we refer to them as Human Cellular Tissue product or HCT product. We no longer refer to them as stem cells, as there are so many more products that may be involved other than just stem cells. Think of ordering a margarita at a bar. Of course, it contains tequila, but you don’t ask the bartender for just tequila. A margarita contains tequila, triple sec, sour mix, and sometimes other ingredients. If you were to order tequila you would get just that. A shot of tequila. With HCT products, yes there may be stem cells involved, but other products may be included that are changing every day. I’m dedicated to going to conferences on these types of treatments at least 3 times per year. What I find, is there are new treatments and protocols being introduced all the time. This way I can offer my patients the best and cutting-edge treatments that are available.
To begin, I will explain where quality HCT products come from. These cells are basically human growth cells, that are most prevalent in our body when we are born. In high quality products, that are used in my office, the mother and father of a newborn is carefully screened for specific diseases and possible genetic issues. Once the mother agrees to donate some of the baby’s cells, she signs a release for them.
Some come from the umbilical cord. They are extracted from the layer of Wharton’s Jelly. These cells increase the body’s ability to heal. She may also decide to have some of the cells stored for her own child to be used later in life. The cells are then sent to a processing lab, where they are safely separated into different types. Other types of HCT products are extracellular. These contain nearly 3 times more growth factors than adult cells. Many experts in the field, say extracellular products may be more important than stem cells due to their unique ability to function as a messenger within the body to transfer information from cell to cell. In many cases, they are used in conjunction with other products. This enhances the outcome that is expected with the treatment.
These products I mentioned above, are just a couple of many that are available. I find these two in combination are part of some of the best protocols available today in this country. There are other products and methods used in other countries as well.
Once the patient decides with their doctor that stem cells are the best option for them, there is a process of injections. In the previous articles, I mentioned PRP or platelet rich plasma. This causes inflammation that is intended to alert the stem cells where to go. The PRP is injected for a number of weeks prior to receiving HCT products. This way, the cells of the HCT products nowhere to go because the PRP alerts them where to go. Without this process, many of the HCT products may be lost throughout the body and other inflammatory areas. It’s a process, not an overnight fix. This process allows the body to regenerate and heal. Think of a lizard out in the desert. He walks around a bush and there’s a bobcat!
The bobcat grabs him by the tail, but he’s able to get away because his tail is pulled off. The lizard has regenerative cells in his body to grow another tail. We don’t have those types of cells in those numbers so were unable to grow cartilage, collagen and other supportive tissue like the lizard does. This is why we need these large number of regenerative cells from a newborn to help us do that.
Simple steroid injections and pain injections will not accomplish this. Just think if the lizard had only received steroid or pain injections, he would not be able to grow his tail back! We are lucky during these times of cutting-edge science, that we are able to receive special cells to help us regenerate tissue necessary to live long, healthy and happy lives without drugs or surgery.
I hope this helps to clarify what these regenerative cells are all about. If you would like more information or a complimentary consultation including second opinions for surgery or HCT products, please call my office for an appointment. Finally, if you do choose to have an injection from any office, always write down what they injected. It’s very important to know this for yourself as well as your other healthcare practitioners.
For any questions regarding my articles, please email me at DrLeisa@CaringPainRelief.com
Leisa-Marie Grgula, D.C.
Accurate Care Medical Wellness Center
18261 N Pima Rd. Ste # 115
Scottsdale, AZ 85255