How Stem cells Aid in Treating Musculoskeletal Disorders - GO.CARE Blog

How Stem cells Aid in Treating Musculoskeletal Disorders

Author: Jonathan Pham
Review Date: 09/09/2019 | Last Modified: 22/10/2019
How Stem cells Aid in Treating Musculoskeletal Disorders

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDSs) such as arthritis and degenerative disc are pretty prevalent these days, with about one out of three adults worldwide affected. Due to the increasing number of older people and musculoskeletal trauma, the demand for an effective way to treat MSDs has become higher than ever.

While most previous protocols only address the condition partially, Regenerative medicine – which focuses on the use of stem cells – promises the potential for effective treatment of MSDs. According to researchers, stem cell therapy can bring about a perfect solution to health problems such as osteoarthritis (OA), cartilage defects, and tendon injuries.

Basic knowledge about Musculoskeletal Disorders

What are Musculoskeletal Disorders?

Musculoskeletal Disorders

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) refer to a group of conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system (MSK). The MSK system consists of one person’s muscles, bones, joints, tendons, and other connective tissues. Therefore, it constitutes most of your body’s framework, as well as affects your ability to perform physical and cognitive tasks.

Types of Musculoskeletal Disorders

Until now, more than 150 types of MSDs have been identified. The condition can impact any body part, including the neck, shoulders, wrists, backs, hips, knees, legs and feet. Below are some of the most common musculoskeletal disorders:

  • Arthritis is a disease that causes joint pain and inflammation. Until now, over 100 types of arthritis have been found. Among them, the two most common are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Osteoporosis is a condition in which the patient’s bones become thinner, hence being at risk of fractures. Most of the time, osteoporosis affects the wrists, hips, and spine.
  • Bursitis is characterized by bursa inflammation. The bursa is a fluid-filled sac that serves as a middle layer between the body’s tissues, hence reducing friction and assisting in our movements. Most bursae are found around the shoulders, wrists, hips, knees, and feet.
  • Fibromyalgia is a chronic syndrome that causes pain in the body’s muscles and soft tissues. The condition may affect your neck, shoulders, chest, hips, arms, legs, back, and buttocks.
  • Back pain can greatly impair the patient’s range of motion and daily schedule depending on its severity. There are different causes of back pain, including strenuous activities, vertebrae, muscle tension, herniated disc, etc.

How are Musculoskeletal Disorders treated?

With a steady increase in the number of older people worldwide, MSDs have become more and more common. Aside from age, other factors such as genetics, occupation, and lifestyle may also increase the risk of MSDs.

The consequences of different types of MSDs are not the same. While some only cause minor discomfort, others may result in loss of function and complete physical disability, which then influences overall quality and causes great financial burdens.

Previously, the focus of most MSD treatments is to reduce and control the symptoms only. Medications such as ibuprofen, zolpidem, eszopiclone, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) can be used to modulate pain and the immune system. In addition, orthopedic surgery, physical/ occupational therapy, acupuncture, and therapeutic massage may reduce pain and delay further damage to the joints.

These traditional therapies have various drawbacks. First, their effects are mostly temporary; hence, patients may need to take medications repetitively.  In addition, many of them are invasive and require a long time for rehabilitation. For this reason, scientists have been working to find out more effective approaches.

Get to know about Stem cell therapy

What are Stem cells?

Stem cell transplant

Stem cells are basic cells that have not yet developed any special function. These cells possess the unique ability to differentiate into any functional cells. After the differentiation process, they act to repair/ replace cells damaged by illnesses and injuries.

Thanks to their regenerative nature, researchers believe that stem cells can provide an effective cure to different health conditions, including musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). The use of stem cells helps eliminate the need for frequent drug administration and reduce medical costs. Currently, most stem cell-based MSD treatments involve the use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).

What are Mesenchymal stem cells?

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are adult stem cells that can proliferate into different adult tissues, including bone, cartilage, muscle, and nerve cells. They can be collected from the bone marrow, umbilical cord, amniotic fluid, and adipose tissue.

MSCs are capable of releasing substances that affect the immune system’s response to injuries and promote cell growth. This, in combination with their high plasticity, allows them to see wide use in medical treatment.

How Stem cells aid in treating Musculoskeletal Disorders

Treatment of Musculoskeletal disorders

Musculoskeletal disease treatment

Thanks to their impressive capability of engraftment and differentiation, MSCs have seen wide use in the regeneration of musculoskeletal tissues. For years, many hospitals and clinics have been utilizing these cells to treat bone and arthritis, cartilage defects, and tendon injuries.

Recent studies have found that MSCs are capable of producing cytokine-mediated paracrine effects, which stimulate the local cells to contribute to the regeneration of damaged tissues. In addition, MSCs prevent the maturation of dendritic cells and the reproduction of B and T lymphocytes, hence affecting the body’s allogeneic immune responses.

Musculoskeletal pain treatment

Studies have shown a correlation between proinflammatory cytokines in the synovial fluid with osteoarthritis pain. In addition, it is believed that an increased level of TNF-α and IL-8 in the nucleus pulposus may attribute to intense pain in the case of degenerative disc disease.

Due to their anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to home to injury areas, MSCs have been widely used in treating musculoskeletal-related pain. After being injected into the body, these stem cells help alter the levels of intra-articular and serum cytokines, hence relieving pain caused by MSDs.

Potential improvements after Stem cell treatment

The use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can lead to the following improvements:

  • Reduced inflammation and joint stiffness;
  • Improved muscular strength and mobility;
  • Bone and cartilage regrowth;
  • Paracrine effects, which involve the alteration of nearby cells;
  • Autocrine effects, which refer to the stimulation of existing cells to repair themselves;
  • Strengthened immune system (Immunomodulation).

Testimonial Video

Source: StemCells21

Where can I get Stem cell-based Musculoskeletal Disorder Treatment?

MSD treatment utilizing stem cells is pretty complicated due to the complexity of these diseases. For that reason, patients should carefully consider their choice of healthcare providers in order to maximize the success rate.

At GO.CARE, we work with the best stem cell clinics in Asia to ensure high-end quality commitment. All of our partners have had a long history of treating patients of various health conditions. To learn more about our stem cell network, please click here.

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GO.CARE does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment services.

Office-Based Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy for the Treatment of Musculoskeletal Disease: A Systematic Review of Recent Human Studies. Accessed on September 9, 2019.

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Stem Cell Therapy for Musculoskeletal Diseases. Accessed on September 9, 2019.

Stem Cell Treatments Overview. Accessed on September 9, 2019.

Stem cells for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain. Accessed on September 9, 2019.

Stem Cell Therapy for Musculoskeletal Diseases. Accessed on September 9, 2019.

Stem Cell Musculoskeletal Treatments. Accessed on September 9, 2019.

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