Louis A. Cona M.D.
A brief summary of fibromyalgia and how stem cell therapy may be able to help treat the condition.
Fibromyalgia Syndrome is a widely debated and controversial condition in the medical community. It is sometimes referred to as a collection of symptoms, and some consider it to be a disease in itself. Regardless, the symptoms fall under the category of an autoimmune disease. These can include everything from muscle/joint pain and stiffness to sleep disorders, increased sensitivity, gastrointestinal problems, and even mood swings. The wide range of effects make fibromyalgia difficult to diagnose, but the symptoms are very real to people living with the disease. Fortunately, recent developments in stem cell medicine have shown extremely promising results in the treatment of fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disease that researchers believe amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event. Women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression. There is currently no cure for fibromyalgia, however, stem cells have shown positive results in managing symptoms and increasing quality of life for patients.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are primal or “undifferentiated” cells. They are essentially “blank” and have the ability to become almost any other type of cell. In the body, their function is to find damaged or diseased tissue and repair or replace it. We all have a supply of stem cells when we’re born, but it decreases with time, and their effectiveness diminishes with age. A stem cell transplant seeks to boost the body’s number of stem cells by the hundreds of millions. Through the use of donated cord tissue-derived stem cells, the cells used in treatment are “brand new”, with the highest potency and healing potential. Additionally, the treatment involves only natural cell products, avoiding the use of potentially harmful additives and drugs.
When used to treat autoimmune conditions, such as fibromyalgia, stem cells have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, they have been shown to protect, heal, and even regenerate neurons in the body, preventing cell death. The result is a decrease in symptom effect, as the stem cells regulate neural functions down to normal levels. Patients have reported a decrease in muscle/joint pain, sensitivity, and other inflammation-related symptoms. Trials have shown patients regaining mobility and flexibility, as well as a decrease in nerve pain. The results can last for years at a time without the need for another transplant of cells. This treatment seeks primarily to increase the quality of life for fibromyalgia patients by reducing the associated symptoms down to manageable levels and is largely seen as the best natural alternative to drug-based treatment plans.
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