Regenerative Medicine as an Alternative Solution for Joint Pain
Many people might not be familiar with regenerative medicine (RM), but it is a powerful tool in medicine for the growth of new supportive tissue. Anyone not experiencing chronic joint pain may not realize how life-changing this type of therapy is. To actually rebuild supportive tissue means a permanent end to daily joint pain.
Many of those suffering from joint pain have unresolved damage. Conditions like arthritis are capable of causing harm, just as an athlete that over-uses certain joints could be causing extended injury. Whatever the cause, the compromised joint now has pain-inducing factors like scar tissue, reduced tissue between bone, inflammation and destabilized ligaments and tendons.
RM regenerates tissue by obtaining growth factors from the patient’s own blood, which contains the building blocks for life, including platelets containing numerous growth factors that act by stimulating different cell mechanisms.
Macrophage Chemotaxis: Macrophages are a type of white blood cell responsible for digesting foreign matter. They also help to initiate further defense by recruiting other specific immune cells. This type of cell action is very beneficial if infection is present in the joint.
Angiogensis: This is the formation of new blood vessels, which carry oxygen and nutrients required for healthy tissue. Most joints aren’t able to fully repair because they have limited blood flow. More blood to an injured site will result with the body restoring itself.
Collagen Synthesis: Collagen is a structural protein that forms connective tissue and a significant component of the muscles, tendons, skin, bones and joints. It is the highest source of protein found in the body. Collagen accumulates in the cartilage, and this helps to rebuild the extracellular matrix.
Fibroblast Proliferation: A fibroblast is a type of cell that is responsible for making the extracellular matrix and collagen. These two substances form the structural framework in animal tissue and play a critical role in wound healing.
To obtain platelets, the patient has blood drawn, which is then spun in a centrifuge to separate, or fractionate, the blood into three parts. The layer of plasma, which contains the platelets, is collected and the resulting platelet-rich plasma (PRP) can then be injected into the same patient’s allocated joint or joints. Within days, the patient may experience a reduction in their pain; however, multiple applications are generally needed to achieve total pain relief. It’s important to note that all pain relief is permanent unless the site is reinjured.
The principle behind RM can also be used for cosmetic purposes, sometimes called “vampire filler”. The name is different, but the treatment is actually similar to RM for joint repair. The patient’s own PRP is strategically injected into areas of the face. Over time, usually four to six weeks, the patient’s own biological matter begins to grow, resulting in long-lasting volume. The result is more subtle than other fillers, making it a great choice for anyone wanting to be discrete.
Both applications of RM require a great amount of skill. Precise injection techniques are of the utmost importance to achieve the best success. An experienced RM physician may result in fewer treatments and quicker results.
Paul Stallone, NMD, founded the Arizona Integrative Medical Center, located at 8144 E. Cactus Rd., Ste. 820, in Scottsdale. He combines natural/alternative/conventional treatments for each patient’s needs. For more information, call 480-214-3922 or visit DrStallone.com.