TOLEDO (WTOL) - Nearly 9 out of 10 individuals suffering from at least one episode of debilitating chronic pain could soon be seeking out ways to heal better and faster.
According to the CDC, doctor-diagnosed arthritis is expected to increase in the coming decade in the US adult population. By the year 2040, an estimated 78.4 million people will be dealing with crippling arthritis.
And many of those people might turn to stem cell injections to regenerate their tissue.
For regularly active people in their 50s or 60s or older, wear and tear may be causing discomfort or pain and so they come to see Dr. Roger Kruse.
Dr. Kruse is a Promedica doctor at Wildwood and head physician for UT athletics. He also has worked four Olympics.
He also is responsible for treating Larry Barney who has arthritis and loss of cartilage in his knees.
“I was at the point I couldn’t walk around the neighborhood or beach. I could ride my bike but climbing stairs is getting tough. Pulling a lot of handrails to get up and around steps," Barney explained.
Stem cell treatments are called regenerative medicine. Dr. Kruse has been doing it for about seven years. He took stem cells out of Larry’s bone marrow, from the hip and some fat cells.
“I would kind of say the repairman. Repairman for the body. So if something is hurt you use your own body to heal itself. We take it out and concentrate it so we will have over 500 million stem cells. We count ‘em. We know what everybody’s stem cell count is and what we put back in ‘em. Giving us an idea how well they’re going to do and the better stem cells they have they’ll do better with the treatment," Dr. Kruse explained.
Stem cell treatments take about five to six months to really take.
Lou Soltis had severe arthritis in one of his knees and decided to have the procedure done around early summer. If you take a look at him now, you can spot Lou easily working a treadmill at Wildwood.
“I don’t want to say it was painful. Let’s just say it was less uncomfortable than what I came in for in the first place. There’s nothing more exciting than to think you can take what’s the makeup of your own body and especially if you get a little older and have the opportunity to cure some things you know," said Soltis.
"Stem cells for orthopedic procedures are very good. Stem Cells for other things not so good. But they’re coming. Stem cells and genetic medicine’s the biggest thing coming in medicine next ten years,“ said Dr. Kruse.
Stem cell treatment isn’t cheap and ranges from $5,000 to $10,000 for treatment. ST