Over the past several months I’ve fielded many questions about the use of stem cells (regenerative therapy) to treat “chronic progressive conditions”, “joint pain” and/or “neuropathy.”

For patients with a severe loss of cartilage or no cartilage at all, a cell-based injection is unlikely to create a new joint, according to Dr. Anthony Miniaci, MD from the Cleveland Clinic. “Severe loss of cartilage typically leads to bone erosion or bone deformity, so a cell-based injection is highly unlikely to work in terms of reversing those changes,” he said. It can, however, improve your symptoms of pain and swelling. Research showed while there is some support of success, the evidence is still very limited, and more research is needed.

Recent advertising misleads patients into believing stem cells are a fix-all approach. Insurance companies are obligated to pay for most health care services that have research to support their use. We have great local physicians that are very knowledgeable and if they have not suggested stem cells for you, there is a reason: the research doesn’t support its use. If you question whether regenerative therapy is right for you, it is best to discuss this with your medical doctor first.