Body Heal Thy Self: Regenerative Medicine In Non-Surgical Orthopedic Treatments
Regenerative medicine is a wide subspecialty encompassing surgical and non-surgical methods of using the body's own tissues and healing capabilities to repair damage. In orthopedic medicine, components of regenerative medicine are helping people avoid surgery and achieve long-term remission of pain and limitations from arthritis and injuries.
Soft tissue injuries, such as tendon and ligament damage contributes to instability of joints and can cause long-lasting pain and physical limitations. Many of the treatments used after injury, such as anti-inflammatory medications and steroids, are thought to slow the healing of soft tissues, although they may temporarily decrease pain. In prolotherapy, healing agents are injected at the site of damage, which increases the recruitment of natural healing and rebuilding abilities within the body.
Over time, the site of damage becomes stronger and less painful. The treatment requires multiple injections over several months before the site of damage can be fully restored. Your doctor may advise you to use regenerative injections in combination with changes in diet and supplement intake. In addition to prolotherapy, adding protein and supplements to help rebuild collagen and other building blocks of soft tissue are encouraged.
Platelet Rich Proteins
Similarly, platelet-rich proteins (PRP) are another form of regenerative medicine where your own platelets are used to help with the healing process. PRP can be used in many types of surgical applications, such as joint replacements, but it can be used in a non-surgical manner to aid in the improvement of joint and soft tissue injuries. For PRP, a small amount of your own blood is drawn and the red blood cells are separated from the plasma. The plasma is injected at the site of injury to speed up healing and may also reduce the instance of infection if you happen to have an open orthopedic injury.
Another way to promote the body to heal itself is to initiate or increase the inflammatory process. This may sound counterintuitive, since you may think of inflammation as an increase in pain and damage. Under normal circumstance, the inflammatory process is just a component of normal healing, albeit an uncomfortable one. Shockwave therapy uses controlled injuries to encourage the inflammatory process. Small shockwaves are sent to the target location which creates microscopic injuries. This may be useful for orthopedic injuries that did not heal appropriately or remain painful and unstable well after the initial healing has occurred.
Considering regenerative techniques to heal injuries may give you better long-term benefits than simply minimizing pain with steroid injections or pain medications. Additionally, regenerative medicine may help delay or prevent orthopedic surgery. For more information, contact specialists at establishments like Orthopaedic Associates of Muskegon.