A More Natural Approach for Chronic Knee Pain
Knee pain may be manageable if it soon goes away. But chronic knee pain can make life difficult.
Anyone suffering from ongoing knee pain tends to think twice about getting up for anything less than an essential task. Bearing weight tends to add to the already-uncomfortable aching, stiffness and swelling.
Rest, ice, compression, elevation and over-the-counter pain meds like Advil, Aleve or Motrin can provide some relief for mild to moderate knee pain. Physical Rehabilitation can help, but depending on the condition, that can take many weeks or months. More serious cases of chronic knee pain are traditionally treated with a knee brace, anti-inflammatory medication, viscosupplementation injections, alignment and/or cartilage surgeries, or knee replacement.
The problem can begin with a bad fall, or a traumatic sports injury.
But it can also come from: the cumulative effects of being overweight or a series of small injuries; smoking, poor diet or other lifestyle choice; or from some underlying disorder such as being chronically mal-aligned. Painful inflammation of the knee is also often traced to arthritis or crystalline deposits.
Knee problems generally involve either the knee joint, or the soft tissue that surrounds it.
The knee joint is made up of bone and cartilage. The soft tissue includes tendons, ligaments or bursae.
Joint issues like Osteoarthritis can be particularly painful if it is affiliated with a large amount of inflammation. In some cases, pieces of cartilage can begin separating from their attachments. Osteochondral defects may involve bone loss or small fractures in the cartilage.
Among soft tissue problems, Tendonitis is relatively common, in which the tendon that attaches bone to muscle has become inflamed or irritated. Ligaments can also sprain or tear, and only get worse from normal activity.
New solutions are now available through Regenerative Medicine.
Regenerative medicine is a relatively new field that can offer a more natural approach than some traditional medical treatments. It presents enormous potential for restoring structure and function by drawing on, and supporting, the body’s own built-in growth and healing abilities.
Some Regenerative Medicine treatments are still in need of outcome studies however several treatment protocols have been well vetted. But successful applications can help avoid some of the negative effects of both surgery and long-term pain medication.
The key are biologics, products produced from, or which contain components of, stem cells or other living tissue.
In the case of chronic knee pain, two biologic materials in combination can be injected into the affected area. One is called Wharton’s Jelly, a cushioning and protective connective tissue substance extracted from an umbilical cord. The other is derived from amniotic fluid or the placenta.
Good outcomes that relieve chronic knee pain have been achieved in a matter of weeks through this relatively simple procedure. Physical therapy and other aftercare measures may be prescribed to enhance the healing, and depending upon the condition, repeat injections may be necessary.
For more difficult cases of chronic knee pain, stem cells derived from the person’s own bone marrow, combined with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), may be more appropriate. However since the overall process can be painful, time-consuming and costly, this approach is saved for only the most advanced conditions. Other factors such as patient age and overall health must also be considered in the treatment plan.