In regenerative medicine, stem cells are used to treat damaged or destroyed tissues and organs. These stem cells come from the patient themselves and are a “blank state” which can be turned into several different variations of cells including bone, ligament, tendon or muscle.
Given that the main goal of both regenerative medicine and physical therapy is to restore the normal functioning of a diseased or injured tissue it is only appropriate that the two therapies – physical therapy and regenerative medicine – combine forces.Regenerative medicine aims to help the body heal itself more effectively. The study of using a tissue, cellular, organ and medicine substitutes to restore biological function lost as a result of injury, disease, congenital abnormalities or age has brought together a variety of scientists – many with overlapping backgrounds – in the field of regenerative medicine.
Once the regenerative medicine is administered via injection or other procedure, patients are often encouraged to continue physical therapy – as the strength gained from the stem cell therapy enhances their ability to complete physical therapy.
Furthermore, in cases such as artificial organs and medical devices, the relationship between the two fields is also important. A major problem with organ transplant is that there is no way to know if the body will reject the organ or not, and unfortunately, there is no way to prevent it either. However, the great benefit to regenerative medicine, and specifically stem cell therapy and the like, is that the materials used to aid in the healing process are taken directly from the patient – via their blood, bone marrow, or other appropriate sample collected for the needed materials.
However, following the introduction of a new organ or a medical device – even if the organ is one grown from the own patient – physical therapy is still a vital part of the rehabilitation process. Physical therapy has the strong power to enhance the healing potential. As a result of physical therapy, the body can maximize the functional interaction between the host and the donor object – rather it is an organ or a medical device. Following a form of regenerative medicine treatment, physical therapy should be appropriately positioned so that it can optimize the patient’s post-transplant recovery.
Oftentimes, regenerative medicine treatment options are also used for problems such as back pain, knee pain, and other debilitating chronic pain. Typically, the patient was probably receiving physical therapy prior to regenerative medicine treatment options – or had at least tried it as an option. However, to continue to increase the mobility and give the stem cells the best chance at being successful, physical therapy should continue to be an important part of the patient’s regimen.
As the two fields continue to work in close contact with one another, it is also imperative that scientists and rehabilitation specialists continue to work to develop clinically relevant protocols.
When combined, physical therapy and regenerative medicine can continue to optimize the quality of life for those patients suffering from chronic pain or other ailments which have previously inhibited them from doing things.