April 25, 2023
How Regenerative Medicine Can Help Manage Chronic Pain and Injuries
Have you ever taken a moment to marvel at the human body? The body possesses a natural ability to heal itself from many kinds of wounds. For instance, a cut on the skin mends on its own, broken bones knit back together, and a living donor’s liver begins functioning normally again within weeks. The possibilities would be endless if scientists could harness this inherent ability to heal and apply it to a broad range of conditions. Regenerative and sports medicine aims to surpass mere disease management by searching for and developing therapies that facilitate the body’s natural healing, regenerative, and restorative processes to promote overall well-being. While it is still being studied and perfected, there have been promising results showing benefits to current regenerative treatments.
Chronic ailments like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and osteoarthritis are persistent and do not typically resolve without intervention. Medication and medical devices can help manage the symptoms in many cases but may not fully cure or alleviate all issues.
From surgical interventions during prenatal development to treatments for lifelong degenerative and disabling conditions, regenerative medicine therapies prompt the body to initiate a self-healing response. These breakthroughs in patient care across various medical fields provide new avenues for maintaining optimal health and quality of life, especially for individuals dealing with injuries and chronic pain.
Overview of Regenerative Medicine
Regenerative and sports medicine gained momentum in the 1990s, with tissue engineering and stem cell research, including skin grafting, becoming popular. Regenerative medicine aims to restore or renew damaged tissues or organs caused by ailments, injury, age, or other factors rather than merely addressing symptoms using medication and procedures.
Human regeneration occurs at three levels: molecular, cellular, and tissue. This involves the building blocks of the body, such as DNA, fats, and carbohydrates, as well as cell structures like neurons and axons, which are responsible for cell growth and reproduction, and blood, skin, bone, or muscle tissue.
Although several forms of regenerative medicine research are still ongoing, some have already been implemented, such as stem cell therapy. In this approach, specialized stem cells are grown in a lab and instructed to behave like specific cell types, such as those in the heart, blood, or nerves. For instance, if an individual has heart disease, lab-made heart muscle cells can be utilized as transplanted tissue to repair or replace damaged heart cells.
For Chronic Pain
If you are seeking natural and holistic approaches to effectively managing pain, regenerative medicine is an excellent option. As a holistic practice, regenerative medicine focuses on treating and restoring the root cause of your pain instead of merely masking symptoms. This approach involves repairing and restoring damaged tissues or organs rather than relying on medication to alleviate pain.
As regenerative and sports medicine focuses on repairing damaged or diseased areas, observing the desired outcomes may take some time. Nonetheless, patients often begin to notice enhancements in the treated area within a few weeks as new healthy cells start to regenerate in the region.
The advantage of regenerative and sports medicine therapies is that they carry minimal risks or side effects and typically necessitate little downtime. Furthermore, they can be safely combined with other pain management approaches.
Many regenerative treatments can be used for pain and injury healing. Below are some of the main options used to help with chronic pain.
Platelet-rich Plasma Therapy
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy involves extracting a concentrate of platelets from a vial of your blood through centrifugation. The concentrate is then injected into the area where you are experiencing chronic pain. The treatment capitalizes on the healing properties of platelets, which promote blood clotting and stimulate your body’s natural healing and growth mechanisms. This helps to repair any damaged tissues causing you pain.
Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy
Mesenchymal stem cell therapy entails taking cells from your bone marrow and cultivating them in a laboratory or MSCs can be obtained from donated umbilical cords. By manipulating these cells, practitioners can stimulate their growth into bone, cartilage, or muscle cells, which are then transplanted into damaged areas causing pain. Stem cells repair and reinforce damaged tissue while reducing inflammation, a common cause of discomfort and pain.
Adipose-Derived Stem Cell Therapy
These stem cells, also known as adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs), are obtained from a patient’s own adipose (fat) tissue, which is collected through a minimally invasive liposuction procedure.
Once the ADSCs are harvested, they are processed and concentrated before being injected into the targeted area of the body. The injected stem cells then migrate to the damaged tissue, where they release growth factors and other signaling molecules that stimulate the body’s natural healing process.
Fat-derived stem cell injections have been used to treat a variety of conditions, including orthopedic injuries, osteoarthritis, and autoimmune diseases. However, the effectiveness of the treatment is still being studied, and more research is needed to fully understand its potential benefits and limitations.
The application of regenerative and sports medicine in injuries involves utilizing natural substances present in the body, such as cells, tissue, blood components, and growth factors, to replace damaged tissue, stimulate regeneration, quicken healing, alleviate pain and inflammation, and enhance joint function affected by injuries.
Regenerative medicine is often used when handling sports injuries, which rely on repairing or replacing damaged cartilage tissue. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, stem cell therapy, prolotherapy, and specific cartilage regeneration procedures are commonly used regenerative medicine treatment techniques for sports injuries.
Bone Marrow Aspiration Concentrate
Bone marrow aspiration concentrate (BMAC) is a regenerative medicine treatment where bone marrow is collected from the pelvic bone and processed to obtain a concentrate rich in stem cells. These stem cells produce essential proteins and growth factors that aid in healing and inflammation reduction. Stem cells are specialized cells with the ability to develop into specific tissues or organs. Among the different types of stem cells, those found in the bone marrow are considered the most effective in promoting musculoskeletal healing.
Prolotherapy involves injecting a natural irritant into the soft tissue of an injured joint or damaged tissue to stimulate the body’s natural healing response. It is a treatment commonly used for injured joints and ligaments and is often utilized in treating back injuries.
Autologous Cell Therapy
Autologous cell therapy requires obtaining a blood sample from a vein in the arm and a bone marrow sample from the pelvis using a needle. The blood sample is processed to isolate platelets, while stem cells are isolated from the bone marrow sample. The prepared platelets and stem cells are then injected into the injury site using advanced imaging guidance to promote healing.
Cartilage Regeneration Procedure
Cartilage regeneration procedures transplant articular cartilage from another part of the body to the joint where the original cartilage was damaged. Articular cartilage is the smooth tissue lining the ends of bones that form joints, and it cushions and facilitates the smooth movement of bones. This procedure is performed to replace damaged articular cartilage resulting from injury.
Regenerative and sports medicine may be a suitable option for individuals who:
- Experience chronic pain or have injuries that have not responded to other treatments.
- Are in good overall health and have reasonable expectations for the treatment outcome.
- Prefer natural alternatives to surgery or medications.
- Have degenerative joint conditions, such as arthritis.
- Suffer from sports-related injuries.
- Are dealing with autoimmune disorders.
Regenerative and sports medicine can help the body heal naturally with help, promoting a faster recovery without excessive downtime or surgery. While more research for certain therapies and treatment options is necessary, many current treatments have shown significant benefits for those fighting chronic pain or working to heal from injuries.
When determining if regenerative medicine is right for you, it is important to consult with a professional practitioner who can assess your needs and help you make the best, most informed decision. CORR provides state-of-the-art facilities to promote health and improve your well-being.
CORR’s top priority is to remain current with the latest medical findings and research to offer our clients the most cutting-edge therapies available. Our comprehensive services are designed to address a diverse range of recovery needs, aiming to alleviate discomfort and foster healing. If you want to learn more about CORR and regenerative medicine options, reach out today to start your healing journey.