Anyone suffering with arthritis is familiar with the ongoing pain, joint stiffness, and the limitations the disease causes. Arthritis damages the joints and the progressive loss of cartilage changes the joint structure and the way the joint moves. Arthritis affects us at home, in our work place, and when we try to enjoy the activities we love. In addition, arthritis affects our finances, from hours of work lost to the cost for surgery, rehabilitation, various treatments, pain medications and disability. Arthritis is a huge health concern.
What’s the Reason behind Arthritis?
Arthritis does not just happen because of old age. There is a reason for it. Arthritis does occur over time but it is a result of joint instability that transpires after some type of injury that never fully healed. Of course, the eventual cartilage loss with its inhibition of joint motion plays a central role in arthritis, but that’s not where it all began. Injury to or failure of other joint structures, such as an injured ligament or tendon, actually initiated the change in equilibrium that led to this breakdown of cartilage. Arthritis almost always begins with ligament weakness or injury. The injury initiates a cycle of abnormal motion in the joint which eventually changes the structure and function of the joint. Ligaments hold the bones together, and along with healthy cartilage and other soft tissue, allow for smooth joint motion. When the ligaments are weak due to injury, the motion becomes uneven, putting stress on other areas of the joint, which causes one area of bone to bear additional weight on the articular cartilage. This uneven distribution worsens and worsens with ongoing joint stress, weakening the ligaments further, causing additional instability of the joint, and leading to the eventual breakdown of the articular cartilage. The joint then is unable to glide smoothly which causes limitations in joint function. The unstable bony surfaces continue to rub roughly and unevenly, causing bone loss. This bony loss leads to joint space narrowing, exposure of the underlying subchondral bone, which precipitates the process of bone remodeling, in which the subchondral bone thickens. This accumulated or thickened bony overgrowth is called osteoarthritis.
Arthritis Pain and Symptoms
Arthritis typically causes pain, but not everyone is symptomatic. Plus, people with the same degree of arthritis can experience various levels of pain. When pain does arise, it generally occurs with activity and is relieved by rest. Arthritis can affect any joint, but it is more common in the weight bearing joints, like the knees, hips, and back. The symptoms generally start and get worse with movement and activity, and go away at rest. As the condition progresses, pain is present at rest too, and is commonly experienced as a non-localized deep, aching pain accompanied by joint stiffness. In time, the aching and stiffness curtail activity and function. Since arthritis puts limitations on life, and the enjoyment of doing the things people love, psychological distress is understandably another associated factor endured by those who suffer from it.
Another interesting point is that the pain in arthritis is not coming from the cartilage! There are no nerve fibers or blood vessels in cartilage tissue, and therefore it is incapable of generating pain or inflammation or any of the symptoms commonly described with arthritis. The pain actually comes from the ligaments, tendons and their insertion sites at the bone, which are all highly innervated.
Arthritis is diagnosed after a thorough history and physical examination. Radiography can be utilized to confirm the presence of joint space narrowing and bone spurs, and to rule out the presence of other conditions.
Regenerative Orthopedic Treatments Target and Repair the Source of Injury
Since arthritis begins with injury to the soft tissue structures like the ligaments and tendons, treatments that target repair of these structures are needed to restore the joint physiology and biomechanics. Otherwise the cycle will continue. Regenerative Orthopedic therapies, such as Stem Cell Therapy, PRP and Prolotherapy, target the ligaments, tendons and their insertion sites, and treat the source of the problem, fixing the involved structures and stabilizing the joint. They put an end to the abnormal joint motion so the joint becomes stabilized and effectively stop the cycle.
It is important to choose treatments that repair, rather than those that just cover up or mask the symptoms. Regenerative Orthopedic treatments increase blood flow in the tissue which causes an increase in the flow of immune cells to the injured tissue, which triggers the repair process. The solutions act as proliferants and boost the natural wound healing cascades, resulting in strengthening and repair of the injured joint structures. Regenerative Orthopedics offers benefits in terms of pain relief, regenerative properties, and cartilage repair for people affected by arthritis.
In patients with more advanced arthritic conditions, the Gold Standard in Stem Cell Therapy can be utilized, which 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 this combination acts as an amazing regenerative solution to reverse the damage of arthritis on the joint.
Arthritis is a complex and unique condition, affecting individuals and those they love. In a time when healthcare providers have limited options for effective arthritis treatment and pain resolution, Regenerative Orthopedics is a promising treatment option to aid in relief of pain, results in increased motion, and provides gains in function and quality of life. These treatments stimulate the regrowth of the injured tissue, and tighten the ligaments around the joint, which often reduces joint pain immediately. They are safe and effective and are amazing non-surgical alteratives, with the potential to slow the disease progression, get rid of pain, and promote the regeneration of cartilage. What a great opportunity for healing and return to function for those suffering from the pain and disability of arthritis!