By Dr. Reba Eagles, D.O.M.
Stem cells can be used for many types of conditions, though pain is the most common. If you have ever experienced the pain of plantar fasciitis for example, you know that it can be extremely debilitating.
We had a patient recently, let’s call her Anne. Anne had been working for the same company for many, many years and loved her work. She had been treated for arthritis in her right foot and ankle but only with temporary relief. Over time, the bottom of her feet began to hurt, and she was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis.
She had many types of treatments that did not help, and her ability to move about declined rapidly. When she first arrived at our clinic she was barely able to walk. I watched her stand from her chair and it was immediately apparent she was in a great deal of pain. Once standing she had to pause before being able to move. She hobbled to the consult room and we began to talk.
Her story was difficult to listen to as it was obvious she was a woman of purpose and felt frustrated that she was less productive than she would like. She said she was going to have to stop work and file for disability as she was no longer able to perform her duties, which included much walking and standing throughout the day. We discussed the possibilities stem cells could provide and she decided to proceed.
Because this was an inflammatory condition that requires the immune system to repair, it was imperative that we reduce inflammation in the rest of her body so the stem cells and the accompanying aspects of the immune system could focus on the area being treated. We gave Anne an anti-inflammatory diet and acupuncture right after her treatment as well as one time per week for 4 weeks and planned a reexam at the end of that time.
When I saw her 3 weeks after her treatment, she stated her pain was a full 50% improved and she had lost 24 pounds. (The body can hold excess fluid in response to inflammation.) As the inflammation recedes, the fluid is no longer needed, and the body will release it. While Anne’s amazing weight loss is not common, it is also not entirely uncommon. What is common is her improvement in pain levels. She has continued to improve, is no longer considering disability and is, once again, enjoying the work she has always done.
Our stem cell product is an amniotic/umbilical mix of stem cells that also includes many aspects of the immune system necessary for healing. This mix of young, vibrant and fast replicating cells begins to release chemicals that stimulate paracrine communication, which is a form of cell-to-cell communication. This is where a cell produces a signal to induce changes in nearby cells, altering the behavior of those cells. This happens between these new cells and your own cells, as well as between your own immune system cells. This reawakens and speeds up your own healing and repair mechanism, so the repair aspect of your body begins to act faster than your rate of degeneration, much like when you were a very young child.
While joint pain and avoiding surgery is the most common concern expressed by people interested in stem cell treatments, this medicine is showing incredible results for many other kinds of conditions as well. Regardless of the type of condition you may have, it is important to look at overall health. Stem cells work best in a healthy body, so we always start with an initial evaluation to determine if this is the best treatment for you, if there is something milder would be appropriate to use first, or if your body needs something else treated beforehand so the stem cell treatment will be most effective.