Stiff and achy joints make it tough to get through the day. Whether it affects your knees, elbows, shoulders, or hips, chronic joint pain can be debilitating. When conservative treatments haven’t brought you relief and surgery isn’t an option, regenerative medicine may be the solution.
Kara Kelly, NP at Quince Orchard Medical Center specializes in the emerging field of regenerative medicine — procedures that boost your own body’s ability to heal itself — and offers two effective forms that could help you overcome your joint pain.
Stem cell therapy
Perhaps one of the best-known types of regenerative medicine, stem cell therapy has been in the press a lot lately. That’s because doctors have been using it to treat joint and tissue damage with success. For instance, one study followed patients with osteoarthritis in their knees and reported continued improvement even five years after their treatments.
The reason it works so well is that it involves stem cells, which have the unique ability to morph into any type of cell they’re near. If you have deteriorated cartilage and ligaments in your joints, stem cells injected into your knee or shoulder have the ability to transform and regenerate those tissues.
Stem cell therapy can be beneficial for the treatment of arthritis, and sports injuries, in addition to joint pain and inflammation. In some cases it has helped to prevent joint replacement surgery, improved injury repair, decreased injury pain, and provides more cushioning to joints and cartilage.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)
More and more people who suffer from knee osteoarthritis are turning to platelet-rich plasma to treat their joint pain. Although it’s been used for more than three decades for tendinosis, it’s gained popularity since the early part of this century for its efficacy in the treatment of arthritis.
In this procedure, Kara draws a small sample of blood from your arm — it’s similar to a routine blood draw in a lab. She places that blood into a centrifuge, which spins it at a high speed to isolate the platelets from other components in your blood, like the red and white blood cells. Once it’s ready, she injects the concentrated solution into your painful joint.
Those platelets secrete growth factors that boost cell division, prompt your tissues to regenerate, and speed up the healing process. Studies show that PRP for knee osteoarthritis often stops the progression of the disease and reduces pain.
If traditional methods fail to alleviate your pain, Kara Kelly discusses your regenerative medicine options to determine which might be a good match for your symptoms.
If you have chronic joint pain, give us a call at 301-762-6686. We’re happy to help you become pain free.