If you read that stem cell treatments are never painful, that would not be true at all.
The bottom line on stem cell treatments is that if your doctor is using your own stem cells in the treatments, then it’s possible you may have pain.
Pain Scenario #1: Bone Marrow Transplant Therapy
For example, if your doctor is taking a bone marrow transplant from your own bones, there’s going to be some pain in the process. In fact, there’s a percentage of patients that end up having long-term pain from just taking the bone marrow sample.
Drugs are given prior to the bone marrow transplant for about a week to make sure that the stem cell numbers will be high, and it’s the side effects from these medications that are linked to the pain. Of course during the bone marrow transplant procedure, the doctors took precautions to numb the area. That’s a given.
If your stem cell treatments are not bone marrow transplants from your own body, then you wouldn’t have this type of pain.
Pain Scenario #2: Adipose Stem Cells Treatment
Your regenerative medicine specialist may be using stem cells from your body’s own fat. Will there be pain from this procedure? The answer is a little bit of pain that is temporary. It’s a mild discomfort and that’s it. You won’t have writhing pain, intense pain that makes you scream, or pain that makes you bite your tongue. Again, it’s mild discomfort.
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The area where the needle will be inserted will be numbed. You shouldn’t feel the pain of the needle unless the sample is taken before the topical anesthetic is working fully.
If this is the case, then you’ll feel a pinprick sensation that will last for a few minutes after the time the needle is removed. Since the needle didn’t penetrate deep into the abdomen, it didn’t perforate any organs. The needle stayed in the fat component of your belly fat. Thus, there’s no pain from needling into an organ; that just doesn’t happen.
It’s possible you may have a little bit of swelling and bruising, just as you would if you have a blood draw.
Pain Scenario #3: Injecting Stem Cells Into A Joint or IV
After your stem cells have been harvested, it’s time to deliver them back to your body. They will be injected into the place in your body where you need them the most; for example, your joints. To get them into the joint, the skin over the point of injection will be numbed. Then the needle will be inserted and the stem cells delivered. This doesn’t take a long time; it’s less than a minute.
The same thing is true for IV injections of stem cells. The doctor will determine where the best injection site will be, and then the area will be numbed. The needle is injected and the stem cells are delivered right into the bloodstream.
Pain Scenario #4: After Stem Cell Treatment
Depending on the stem cell treatment center you go to, your doctor may give you certain recommendations to follow. For example, you will be asked to stop using any NSAIDs and any topical medications including herbal ointments for decreasing pain. What is the purpose for this?
You may have soreness in your joints and the surrounding area for a few days. In some cases, the soreness can last up to a few weeks. The soreness indicates that your body is remodeling the tissues. However, this soreness should not be severe pain.
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Natural Healing Story
For decades this process of remodeling has been known in the field of natural healing. Dr. John Christopher, N.D., one of the nation’s herbal pioneers always taught his students how to rebuild tissue via the use of herbs in certain combinations. He explained that when tissue was damaged, it had to be reorganized and reconstructed.
When this occurred, the person wouldn’t feel much more than soreness in the area from the initial injury until the point in time where the body was ready to orchestrate the major reconstruction. Then the part of the body would hurt a lot. Suddenly there was a bout of pain that would make the person say, “Whoa, why do I suddenly have this much pain?” The pain might continue for a few hours and then would stop as suddenly as it started. And then the healing would be complete.
It appears that in some cases, stem cell treatments may be somewhat similar to what happens in natural healing – although never as intense. The pain may feel greater than normal because the person is not taking any pain medications but then once the stem cells do what they do best and start rebuilding cartilage, tendons, bones, and tissues, that’s when the pain begins lessening.
If you ever do get pain after a stem cell treatment, it’s important to speak to your doctor about this. You may need another stem cell treatment to boost the level of stem cells in your body. Sometimes three or four stem cell treatments are necessary.
What’s the bottom line on pain and stem cell treatment? It’s that stem cell treatments should be expected to lower pain levels over time… never to increase them.