Stem Cell Treatment For Knee Pain: Is It The Best Option?

Chris Surrency

Getting old sucks people, seriously, if you have the opportunity you should find some magic pill that just stops you at like 25, before you REALLY start to break down. We’ve all heard from our elders at one point or another “wait until you get – (insert random age over 30), THEN you’ll learn real pain.” Like so many others I had that invincible mentality in my younger days, assuming that I would have the ability to lift and carry anything as long as I wanted without fear of it catching up with me eventually. Then just after my twentieth birthday I started having back issues, living with unbearable pain and wishing it would just go away. I knew I had scoliosis, but this was something else, I went to a doctor to get checked out and found out I had the beginning stages of degenerative disk disease, which said doctor told me was hereditary and my susceptibility was likely passed down from my mother. A normal person would take that information and maybe slow down, but I’ve never been too normal. Instead I decided to take that as meaning work it as hard as you can while you can, unfortunately that’s really starting to hit me now.

Back pain is something I’ve learned to live with, as is the pain from my damaged ankles, my shoulder which is my newest weak point and my carpal tunnel pain. Pain has become a regular part of my life now and as a result when I wake up I focus on that days primary ailment and try to compensate by altering my movement. With all of the injuries I’ve experienced throughout my life, nothing has beat me down as much as the arthritis in my right knee. It’s a real treat having arthritis at such an early age, especially in one of your tree trunks that carry most of your power. Another reason it’s so horrible is that the right side is my dominant side so anytime I have to lift anything, climb stairs, or just walk around in general this is the leg that leads my way. When it flares up I can hardly keep myself upright, the pain is as close to unbearable as you can get, I’ve literally had to fight back tears as I attempt to walk around with a useless leg. When you have a man at 6’4” and over 3 bills tearing up you know that something horrible is happening to them. As a result I’ve learned to study up on anything I can to cut down on the pain so I can just make it through the day.

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I have been increasingly interested in stem cells and how they can be used to treat the ailments of the masses. I haven’t had a chance to try out stem cell injections yet myself as I’m unsure if my insurance would cover them. Also, you need to go to a doctor to be treated and the “stubborn male” section of my brain only allows that when I’m in the most severe of situations. I have heard former athletes who get stem cell injections for knee pain swear that it is a game changer. Their pain goes away quickly and usually stays away for some time. Unfortunately the procedure involves injections and I have a bit of an aversion to needles. At this point I may just have to suck it up and move past that fear in order to relieve myself of nearly crippling pain. If the testimonials I’ve heard from former NFL Offensive Lineman are to be believed then this truly could be the answer many of us need outside of being forced under a scalpel. Getting cut open is rarely the most popular choice for anyone trying to cope with a nagging injury, so if a few shots will do the same, I’m down.

Treatment with stem cells is still a fairly controversial option. While not as much on the embryonic front as adult cells from our own bodies are being used now, there are still some issues arising from these treatments. There have been instances of people becoming legally blind as a side effect of stem cell treatments, paralysis has occurred as well, leading to a need for radiation treatment, and there is a fear the stem cells could precipitate tumor growth in patients. On an upside it appears the knee is one of the safest places to treat with stem cell injections, side effects usually include swelling, joint tightness, and pain at the injection site. In other words it’ll feel about like normal, just with a needle prick as an extra annoyance. It’s become clear that these treatments do help, but they haven’t nailed down exactly what cuts the pain for patients. It’s not completely clear if the cells react in some way to awaken other cells, or if they somehow cut down on inflammation themselves. As a result there is still a need for more research into treating people in orthopedic cases with stem cell therapy.

I, and many others, continue to hope that the injuries and pains that plague us on a daily basis will come to an end in our lifetime. Stem cell therapy has been a primary focus of mine in hopes that these little cells could provide the miracle cures we all need. Another treatment option is through a cold laser therapy program. The main reason that people may choose the laser therapy is that it’s noninvasive and painless, which is far more appealing than having a needle jabbed in your knee. The downsides being that it could take 30 or more treatments before you experience pain relief. Also, insurance may not cover the laser treatments, but that’s also the case with stem cells so the point there is essentially moot. Given then options I would go ahead with the stem cell treatment as it seems that people state it offers more immediate pain relief. Sometimes in life you just have to suck it up, face a fear, in order to ensure a better quality of life for yourself. I’m at the point now where I will be checking in with my insurance next year to see about stem cell therapy, I just hope all the reports are true and I can finally get around in a far more painless manner.

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Chris Surrency

Chris Surrency is an aspiring author and article writer with opinions on many different topics. He fell in love with writing as a child in elementary school and has taken any occasion possible to let the words that roll around in his head come out whether it be in a notebook or on a computer. Chris got his first opportunity to write online at, a subsidiary site for Wrestling News World, posting opinion pieces. He later joined the Yahoo Contributor's Network, covering many topics from science to video games and back to sports, and almost all points in between, he posted well over one hundred articles up until the moment Yahoo dismantled the network. Since that time he's provided content to different sites online, written his first novel, and eventually made his way to MCXV where he's finally capturing the enjoyment he once found while writing at Yahoo once again.