Effective New Treatments Offer Arthritis Pain Relief
As we get older, so do our joints.
When two bones ‘articulate’, or meet at a joint, there’s a stiff pad of cartilage that allow them to slide past one another. Connective tissue wraps around that arrangement, and holds it together. Surrounding and protecting all that is a layer of soft tissue.
After bending the joints in our elbows, hands, knees, and hips countless times over the decades, the wear and tear takes its toll on that bone, cartilage and connective tissue. As those structures deteriorate, they don’t work as well. Inflammation in the joint lining and soft tissue result, as well as nagging pain, swelling, stiffness and tenderness. And of course there’s that awful grating feeling and cracking noise sometimes when we move our limbs.
The risk factors.
Arthritis seems to occur more often in women, and those who are overweight. The physical stress of repetitive motion, as well as the impact of a fall or sports accident, can also help trigger arthritis symptoms.
Those symptoms may vary day to day, but the sad fact is that arthritis tends to get worse over time.
Osteoarthritis can’t be cured, but it can be managed.
Staying active, exercising, and watching one’s weight are the first-order recommendations for reducing arthritis pain and discomfort, as well as slowing the progression of the disease. Tai Chi, yoga, gentle stretches and physical therapy can help strengthen the muscles around the joint and reduce stiffness – just be sure not to push things too far.
Over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol can help when the pain is mild or moderate. Anti-inflammatory meds (NSAIDs) like Advil, Motrin and Aleve can help alleviate the swelling. Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate may also help slow the progression of the condition.
Stronger painkillers and anti-inflammatories are available with a prescription. Also, cortisone injections have traditionally been used to relieve pain; the problem, though, is that too many of those over time can actually make the problem worse.
For the most debilitating cases of osteoarthritis, surgical approaches include bone realignment (to reduce impact on the deteriorated bone), and joint replacement. Unfortunately, these fixes can themselves wear out or come loose.
Regenerative Medicine offers new hope.
Doctors are still exploring the potential of an amazing new branch of treatment known as Regenerative Medicine. As a more natural approach to treating many common maladies, it uses substances created in the body to help heal the body.
For osteoarthritis cases with only intermittent symptoms, doctors inject prolozone, which works as a natural anti-inflammatory and antibiotic.
‘Regen Med’ not only treats symptoms, but can actually help repair the problem.
For more difficult and persistent experiences of arthritic pain, platelet rich plasma (PRP) has been the most-studied substance used. PRP is derived from the patient’s own blood, and prepared with an especially high concentration of platelets. That’s important because those platelets include many natural growth factors, which speed healing.
A mixture that may work better and last longer includes fat- or bone marrow-derived stem cells in combination with PRP or Wharton’s Jelly and amniotic tissue. This combination also includes another natural substance called hyaluronic acid. This works as a joint lubricant, but with its impressive overall healing powers, many people take regularly it as a health supplement.
In many cases, the growth factors introduced with this treatment can even help with the structural repair of damaged cartilage and tissue (but not bone).
Typically, the joints begin to move more smoothly, with less pain. In some cases, follow-up injections containing prolozone or PRP may be necessary. Shock wave therapy (concentrated sound waves that stimulate blood flow and healing) may also be beneficial as a follow-up.
Many sufferers have found that Regenerative Medicine’s treatments for osteoarthritis pain offer very welcome pain relief and restored functionality. Which in turn allowed them to get around, accomplish tasks, and enjoy life … like they used to.