Will stem cell therapy (or some other fancy needle) solve my chronic pain problem?

We all seek the simplest, quickest solution to problems and challenges we face. Trying to deal with persistent pain is no different. Therefore, it is not surprising that a myriad of quick fixes have been tried over the years – most with little or no success. Technological advances are of course always worthy of investigation. However, it is important that they are held up to the same scrutiny as other treatment options. Stem cell therapy has made the headlines recently due to some famous names using it to try to help their chronic pain. This blog by some of the Pain-Ed team discusses how strong (or weak!) the evidence for stem cell therapy in the management of chronic low back pain is. Nobody can claim to have found a magically successful therapy for the complex problem that chronic pain is. Nevertheless, it looks increasingly likely that the solution lies not in a new lotion or potion that focusses only on local spinal soreness. Instead, helping people with pain better understand the many different factors which can contribute to their pain and which they can address (e.g. physical inactivity, sleep, stress, confident movement, social engagement and participation in valued activities) holds more potential for meaningful change in the lives of people with persistent pain.

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