Osteoarthritis affects more than 30 million people, causing joint pain, stiffness and other joint dysfunction. For years, the only methods for treating arthritis included physical therapy to improve joint function and medication to help control pain and inflammation. Once those therapies stopped being effective, the next step was joint surgery which either replaced the joint with metal parts or fused smaller joints together.
Today, regenerative medicine represents a major breakthrough for the treatment of many types of diseases and injuries, including arthritis. As its name implies, regenerative medicine is focused not solely on temporarily relieving symptoms, but on helping your body rebuild and repair joints damaged by arthritis. At Midwest Integrated Medical Center, we offer regenerative medicine using an integrative approach with a focus on improving a patient’s overall health and wellness.
What causes osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that typically occurs with age, as wear and tear on joints starts to break down the joint surfaces, wearing away the cartilage that helps joints move freely and without pain. Arthritis can also affect younger people, especially people who participate in repetitive or strenuous activities that put a lot of stress on the joints, such as athletes and dancers.
Cartilage forms a slick coating on the ends of the bones that comprise joints. As the cartilage layer wears down, friction inside the joint increases, causing a lot of pain and interfering with the way the joint functions. Since the cartilage helps joints move freely, when it begins to wear down, joints can begin to “stick,” and you can find your range of motion severely compromised. Even daily activities like climbing stairs, buttoning a shirt, or sitting and standing up can wind up causing pain.
At the same time, the increased friction between the joint components causes inflammation inside the joint, which can exacerbate painful symptoms and cause further breakdown of the cartilage layer.
Research shows that stem cells may repair arthritic joints
Stem cells are cells that haven’t decided what they want to be yet. In essence, they’re the “blank slates” of the cell world. Research shows that these cells may have the ability to turn into any type of cell, including cartilage cells. Your body is full of stem cells, and every day, they’re used to repair damaged areas and replace old, worn cells. How do they turn into new cells? Special chemicals in your tissues act on them, stimulating them in certain ways to cause them to differentiate or become specific types of cells.
When stem cells are injected into a joint damaged by arthritis, local cells and substances in your body act on those stem cells to “encourage” them to turn into new cartilage cells that can be used to repair the damaged joint surfaces. Plus, stem cells may help keep inflammation in check to reduce further injury.
Injections are performed right in our office without any need for anesthesia, and the entire treatment takes less than a half-hour. There’s no downtime after your treatment, but your joint may feel a little sore afterward, just as you would after any injection. Once the stem cells are injected, they go to work to rebuild, repair and regenerate.
Many patients benefit from regular injections to maintain their results. Your treatment will be completely customized for your needs.
Find out how regenerative medicine can help relieve your arthritis pain
At Midwest Integrated Medical Center, our team is focused on treating the whole patient with comprehensive care and therapy options aimed at optimizing your body’s natural healing responses. Regenerative medicine can offer significant benefits for both women and men dealing with the pain and mobility issues of arthritis. To learn more about the therapies we offer or to schedule a consultation and evaluation, book an appointment online today.