Chronic knee, back or joint pain can be debilitating. Not only does it make everyday activities significantly more difficult, but the treatments to manage the pain can be fraught with side effects that further diminish the quality of life for chronic pain sufferers. In addition to the potential for nasty side effects, pain sufferers who must rely on opioids also face the risk of addiction to the substance. Cutting-edge technology in the form of regenerative medicine and stem cell therapies is helping chronic pain sufferers reduce their reliance on pain medications while avoiding the dangers and recovery time associated with surgery.
The basics of regenerative medicine for chronic pain
Regenerative medicine not only sounds like something from the future, but the actual results of the practice already being achieved today are mind-blowing. Not only are people with various musculoskeletal and inflammatory disorders or injuries finding cures for their pain and regaining full function of their joints, but the treatments involved in regenerative medicine are incredibly safe, fast and effective.
The first questions many people have about regenerative medicine and stem cells often revolve around the methods used to harvest stem cells for use in the therapies. While we will not get into too much detail about that in this blog post, you can rest assured that the stem cells used at our offices come from safe, non-embryonic sources. You can read more about stem cells and common misconceptions in another recent blog post.
The basis for most regenerative medicine is currently stem cells. Stem cells are unique because of their versatility—they are undifferentiated or unspecified, which means that under the right conditions, they can grow into new soft tissues like cartilage, ligaments, tendons or muscle tissues. This is great news for people who suffer from a multitude of conditions like old fractures/breaks/injuries, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, osteoarthritis and:
- neuroma/other nerve pain
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
- golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis)
- bicipital tendinitis
- acromioclavicular joint injury
- rotator cuff injury
- chronic myofascial pain syndromes
- pinched nerves
- whiplash (cervical myofascial syndrome)
- old muscular/soft tissue injuries (chronic wound pain, burn pain, etc.)
- heel spur (plantar fasciitis)
- neuroma/other nerve pain
- pain/inflammation of ball of the foot
- Achilles tendinitis
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- patellar tendinitis
- knee pain from an unresolved ligament injury
- shin splints (Osgood-Schlatter disease)
- knee pain from unresolved ligament injury
- trochanteric bursitis
Because stem cell therapy treats the root cause of the condition causing chronic pain, it is incredibly more effective. Most opioid pain relievers simply mask the pain and do nothing to treat or prevent the formation of scar tissues. The stem cells used at Arrowhead Health Centers uses what is called a placental tissue matrix. It contains collagens, growth factors and other key biologic components to heal (and sometimes even cure) conditions caused by degeneration or injury to bones and joints.
Furthermore, regenerative medicine is incredibly efficient on multiple fronts. Because the therapy heals affected joints, patients who are treated with stem cells have to commit far less time to the treatment of their respective conditions. Rather than constantly checking in with a doctor for diagnostic tests and to get prescriptions refilled, some patients find relief for their pain in as little as a single injection (with the entire appointment lasting less than fifteen minutes), which can usually be given after one consultation. The exact number of treatments needed will depend on your individual situation, overall health, the area being treated and the severity of your condition. While patients are asked to “take it easy” for a couple of days following stem cell treatment, there is virtually no down time associated with the procedure. Regardless, this results in a net savings of both time and money for patients—and it is a treatment that can be paid for using an HSA or MSA.
Potentially Fast Pain Relief
Regenerative medicine works astonishingly quickly to treat chronic pain. While some patients report relief as little as two weeks after their treatment, as tissues grow and heal, the condition of the injured area continues to heal over the course of a couple of months. Obviously, no procedure has a perfect success rate, but regenerative medicine works exceedingly well to treat chronic pain. The minority of patients who undergo stem cell injections and still end up needing traditional surgery will find that their recovery time and the quality of their recovery is improved by a prior stem cell therapy.
If you currently take opioid pain relievers for your chronic pain and are interested in exploring the alternative offered by regenerative medicine, contact us to schedule your consultation. The treatment is offered at our offices located conveniently across the Valley and our health care professionals are second to none when it comes to this approach for curing chronic pain.