08 Jan Athletes are Turning to Stem Cell Therapy and Here’s Why You Should Too
If you’re a sports fan, you will have no doubt noticed the recent trend of sports stars jetting off across the globe to get what is often dubbed “stem cell therapy” for their injuries. Recent news broke that Andrew Luck, the Indianapolis Colts franchise quarterback was headed somewhere in Europe to get stem cell therapy. You might also remember why the Colts ended up drafting Luck in the first place. When Peyton went down in 2011 with a neck injury, he also sought stem cell therapy for his neck injury. That was a year before ripping off one of the greatest seasons ever seen by a quarterback and throwing a record-breaking 55 touchdowns. You might be forgiven for believing this is the sort of treatment only professional athletes get, but that is not the case. A number of specialist pain clinics offer these stem cell treatments to patients every single day.
What is Stem Cell Therapy and What Does it Treat?
As mentioned before, you’ve probably heard of stem cell therapy on the news, but understanding the science behind the buzzword is slightly harder. Stem cell therapy as a concept is simple.
All the cells in your body were at one point undifferentiated, that is to say, they were not a skin cell or a brain cell or a heart cell. They were just undifferentiated “cells”. These undifferentiated cells are known as “stem cells”. They can turn into lots of different types of cells. So Stem Cell therapies use these cells in order to grow new tissue in places that usually don’t grow new tissue – say the cartilage in your shoulder or knee (which as an aside is what Andrew Luck will be hoping to achieve).
Stem cells can treat an incredibly wide array of conditions including:
- Knee Meniscal tears
- ACL injuries
- Patella Tendonitis
- Rotator cuff tendonitis
- Frozen shoulder
- SLAP injuries
- Bulging spinal discs
- Trochanteric bursitis
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendonitis
- Tennis elbow
Is there any evidence it works?
It might seem like these therapies are largely experimental – last-ditch attempts for athletes who can’t find anything else to work – but this is not the case. There is a significant evidence base for stem cell therapies. In fact, many doctors are excited about the prospect that they will now be able to actually treat injuries that for years were just managed with painkillers. A recent article published in World Journal of Stem cells talked about the promise that rotator cuff injuries will be far more fixable than before. In the past, the tissue wouldn’t regenerate (cartilage usually doesn’t) but with stem cell therapy this issue is resolved, the tissue can be healed and patients aren’t reliant on pain medication.
This is why Andrew Luck is traveling across the globe to find this incredibly powerful new treatment. But if you suffer from recurrent injuries that aren’t helped with painkillers – consider talking to specialist stem cell therapy clinics about potential treatments.