Regenerative Medicine: a Game Changer in Remedying Aging Joints

When your joints are healthy and in perfect working order, it can be easy to take them for granted. You may rely on them to help you move easily and on demand, but much like blinking, breathing, and other involuntary body processes, you don’t give their contribution to your mobility a second thought.

But when age-related wear-and-tear sets in, and your joints stop working as well as they always have, chances are you think about them with every painful step, squat, reach, or flick of the wrist.

If you live with age-related joint pain, conservative treatment measures can help, but they can’t take care of the underlying problem. Thankfully, the future of medicine has already arrived, and it’s a game-changer for joint pain.

Read on to find out how stem cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) — two revolutionary (and surprisingly simple) regenerative medicine treatments — can help take years off your joints.

Regenerative medicine solutions for age-related joint pain

When tissues within your joint are irritated or damaged, your body’s natural tissue repair cycle begins with an inflammatory response. As inflammation intensifies, it prompts the recruitment of special corrective cells that release enzymes and growth factors, both of which begin to actively repair tissue damage.

At the tail end of the tissue repair cycle, these enzymes and growth factors work together to trigger collagen growth and elastin renewal for the formation of fresh, undamaged tissue.

Regenerative medicine solutions for age-related joint pain help speed up this tissue repair cycle and natural healing processes.

Stem cell therapy

Stem cells, which are found in many different types of bodily tissue, are generally responsible for maintaining the tissue they reside in. If you sustain any type of injury or trauma, however, these “general support” cells wake up and head straight for the affected area, where they transform into the exact same type of cell that’s been damaged, essentially accelerating the healing process.  

What makes stem cells so unique is that they can transform into virtually any type of cell and carry out an incredibly vast range of repair functions. When injected into a torn tendon, for example, they can transform into fresh tendon cells and help speed up the healing process. Similarly, when injected into an arthritic joint, stem cells can transform into cartilage cells and prompt the formation of new cartilage.   

Stem cell therapy involves injecting a high concentration of adult stem cells — which are harvested from your own bone or adipose tissue — into a damaged or painful joint to decrease inflammation, promote rapid tissue regeneration, and foster long-term healing.

The real magic of stem cell therapy lies in how it harnesses your body’s internal corrective mechanisms to soothe and repair your joint in the days and weeks following treatment. As these versatile cells go to work, you can expect to experience less pain, improved range of motion, and increased mobility.  

PRP Injections

Your blood contains a variety of small, solid components, including platelets. As a critical part of the clotting process, your platelets contain powerful growth factors and other bioactive proteins that encourage cellular repair and rapid tissue regeneration.

Although your platelets contain hundreds of beneficial growth factors, platelet-derived growth factors (PDGFs) are one of the most important. That’s because PDGFs actively stimulate the release of stem cells from blood vessel walls, helping to speed up the tissue repair cycle considerably.

To harness the healing potential of PDGFs and other growth factors, we start by drawing a small amount of your blood. Spinning it in a centrifuge allows us to isolate and concentrate the platelets, which we then re-mix with a tiny amount of your plasma to make an injectable serum.

This serum, called PRP, has up to 10 times as many growth factors as what you’d find in the same amount of normal, circulating blood. When we carefully inject the PRP into a damaged or worn out joint, its growth factors and bioactive proteins immediately start to encourage the release of stem cells to stimulate rapid tissue regeneration and healing.

Much like a steroid injection, PRP helps reduce joint inflammation for quick pain relief. But whereas the effects of a steroid eventually wear off, PRP continues to stimulate rapid repair and renewal at the cellular level for more effective and longer-lasting pain relief.

If you’re ready to find out how our regenerative medicine experts at Physical Medicine & Wellness Center of Northern Kentucky can help you put an end to age-related joint pain, call our office in Florence, Kentucky, or use our easy online booking tool to schedule an appointment.

 

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