Arthritis is the most common joint disease in the world, representing a major cause of disability and an enormous financial and economic burden. Oftentimes, the result of arthritis is some type of surgery, and often joint replacement surgery. In this article, we will discuss arthritis, its cause, its progression, and ways to treat it. We will also talk about a non-surgical treatment option that is an amazing help for arthritis pain. Plus, it does not require hospitalization or surgery.
Arthritis is a chronic disease that debilitates the articular joints. It occurs through a sequence of events that has at its core, a loss of joint cartilage. This affects other joint structures and eventually will lead to joint space narrowing and bony overgrowth. And the disease will continue to progress until joint movement becomes noticeably restricted.
Bony overgrowth with the appearance of bone spurs or osteophytes, detected by x-ray, has become the criterion for diagnosing advanced arthritis or radiographic osteoarthritis.
But what occurs before the cartilage loss? Arthritis almost always begins with ligament weakness or injury. Joints are composed of two bones covered with articular cartilage. Healthy cartilage allows the joint to slide because it has a smooth lubricated surface. And healthy ligaments hold the bones together. So, along with the cartilage, they enable the bones to glide evenly over one another when the joints are in motion.
However, when the ligaments are weak, the bones will glide over one another in an uneven manner. And that causes one area of bone to bear additional weight on the articular cartilage when the joint is stressed. This uneven distribution expands with ongoing joint stress, weakening the ligaments further, and causing instability of the joint.
The increase in abnormal weight distribution inside the joint causes a breakdown of the articular cartilage. Without this surface, the joint loses its smooth gliding motion and becomes limited in its movement. With the ligaments unable to stabilize the joint, the muscles and their tendons will tense in an attempt to stabilize the weakened area. But they too will eventually weaken, producing “knots” and eliciting painful trigger points.
The unstable bony surfaces continue to rub roughly and unevenly, causing bone loss. This bony loss leads to joint space narrowing and exposure of the underlying subchondral bone. And that precipitates a process of bone remodeling, in which the subchondral bone thickens. This accumulated or thickened bony overgrowth is called osteoarthritis.
Articular cartilage has no blood supply and therefore tends to heal slowly and imperfectly. Interestingly, cartilage also lacks a neural network and does not elicit pain itself. The pain in arthritis occurs from the pressure on the subchondral bone after the loss of cartilage tissue and from the stress on the tendons and ligaments of the joint.
There are many medications and procedures that have been tried over the years for relief of pain and treatment of arthritis. But there is still no cure. Exercise, medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle modification may provide symptom relief, but they do nothing to regenerate the joint.
There are, however, treatments available that stimulate the regenerative processes in the joint to facilitate the restoration of degenerated cartilage to a healthy state–Regenerative Orthopedics. Stem Cell Therapy is one type of regenerative medicine. It is a non-surgical treatment that supplies the affected joint with chondrogenic (cartilage forming) stem cells, which we obtain from both bone marrow and fat. Injecting these cells into the degenerated joint supports chondrogenesis or the process by which cartilage is developed. Let’s explain the process further…
In our practice, we stand apart from most other clinics when it comes to Stem Cell Therapy, because we use the Gold Standard. Instead of just one type, we use several different successful regenerative treatments in combination to effectively repair arthritic joints.
And you don’t have to be hospitalized or laid up for prolonged periods of type for these treatments either. They are non-surgical, so you can stay active. You don’t have to take extended time off of work, and you can still travel and be mobile! Those are such great benefits!
All Regenerative Orthopedic therapies, including Stem Cell Therapy, Platelet Rich Plasma, and Prolotherapy, are reparative and effective non-surgical alternatives! Prolotherapy alone is a technique to treat arthritis and to aid the body to heal. It prompts the body to create new collagen. And various trials and studies have shown the effectiveness of dextrose prolotherapy in treating osteoarthritis, as well as ligament and tendon injuries.
In some arthritis cases, Prolotherapy is sufficient to bring the pain relief and repair needed. But in cases of arthritis where the degeneration is advanced, we may recommend the Gold Standard in Stem Cell Therapy. This treatment option combines Prolotherapy with components of blood, fat, and bone marrow.
Many clinics use only one or two of these procedures. But we have discovered that Gold Standard combination acts as an amazing regenerative solution to reverse the damage of arthritis on the joint. We comprehensively treat the entire joint with multiple injections of the Platelet Rich Plasma portion of the blood. Plus, we use progenitor cells from an aspiration of adipose and bone marrow aspiration.
These regenerative treatments, along with Prolotherapy in and around the involved joint offer benefits in terms of pain relief, regenerative properties, and cartilage repair for people affected by arthritis. Prolotherapy involves the injection of a hyperosmolar dextrose solution into an injury site to elicit localized inflammation—which is the first step in healing the damaged area.
The dextrose solution acts as a proliferant via the induction of local inflammatory and wound healing cascades, including fibroblast cells that make collagen. With the Gold Standard in Stem Cell Therapy, the goal is to enhance the effects of prolotherapy and improve treatment outcomes in patients with advanced arthritic conditions.
Patients treated with the Gold Standard in Stem Cell Therapy report significantly decreased pain. Plus, they experience significant gains in function and quality of life, exercise ability, and range of motion, as well as losses in stiffness and crepitus. These regenerative therapies in conjunction with Prolotherapy are a safe and effective treatment for arthritis. And it has the potential to slow down the progression of the disease and promote the regeneration of articular cartilage. This treatment option is essentially a new paradigm in the treatment of arthritis.
In our opinion, nothing comes close to the effectiveness of Regenerative Orthopedics. That’s because it can stimulate the regrowth of the injured tissue, and tighten the ligaments around the joint, which often reduces joint pain immediately. Proper exercise can then be resumed in order to bring the strength and flexibility of the surrounding muscles to a normal level.
The goal of treatment is not only pain relief but also the regeneration of joint structures— including articular cartilage. This regeneration and repair allow the individual with arthritis to get back to the sport, activity, or way of life they love.
Contact us to find out if you are a candidate for non-surgical Regenerative Orthopedics and the Gold Standard in Stem Cell Therapy!